Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I Suck at Strategy

I suck at strategic thinking. And when it comes to acting strategically,'s a good think I'm lucky, because I'm a total loss at such things.

Like this one time at a conference when I had to go to my publisher's formal cocktail party. I'm standing around with a glass of red wine in my hand, feeling like an awkward idiot because I *know* cocktail parties like these are all about meeting the right people and schmoozing with folks who might be good for your career and selling oneself.

All of which I HATE.

Then I notice someone leaning up against a column, looking kind of weird and out of place --like me! So I approach him, and he turns out to be fascinating, and funny, and geeky, and we get more drinks and proceed to have a grand old time. Then another fellow joins us, who turns out to be the first guy’s assistant, and we start making inappropriate comments and snide remarks and laughing so loudly that my editor’s boss joins us, at which point we rein it in and behave ourselves.

As soon as the two men walk off, my editor’s boss turns to me and says: "Good for you! That’s an important connection to make."

And I say, "Wha…?"

And in response to my vague look she says, "You realize he’s the national buyer for ****" (fill in incredibly important chain of bookstores)

And I say "Wait, wha…?" ... and only then realize I've been saying inappropriate things to someone Very Important.

And then later in the evening I'm all tongue-tied around the fellow because I now know he could be a Strategic Asset.

That’s the kind of suave, strategic player I am. So if I ever approach you at a party, you can be sure I think you're not important.

Wait. That didn't come out right...


Sophie Littlefield said...

ha ha ha - best promo technique EVER. and you can be sure the people *I* remember fondly, which will be important if i ever develop into an influential person, are the geeky awkward fun ones with the best gossip!

Gigi Pandian said...

Ha! This is exactly how I met a certain infamous agent, who had taken off her name tag. Since I wasn't currently looking for representation, I was able to laugh at it that very night.

Juliet Blackwell said...

Gigi -- love that story, and was thinking of it while I wrote this. I'll bet you weren't saying inappropriate things, though ;-)
Sophie -- you work the room like nobody's business, and always leave me in awe. But your charm is that you're not doing it for gain, but because you really do want to meet everyone! And glad to know you'll remember me fondly when you're an influential person ;-)

Rachael Herron said...

Aw, we haven't been together in a writing con bar in TOO long.

Liz said...

Your (bad) language, so boooooring, as it probably was to that "Strategic Asset".