A few years ago I applied for a job promotion at work. One of the qualifiers was to pass an aptitude test for the position and my score was one of the highest on the test.
A fellow co-worker wanted the same job, took the test and failed. Management wanted to fill the position with my co-worker and allowed him to take the test as many times needed to pass it. Eventually he passed and gained the position. This is one of the first times I realized it is not what you know, but who you know.
The core principle behind this is that you use relationships to gain an advantage or get ahead. Modern day society calls this networking, but to me it sounds more like the old fashioned term called ‘bootlicking.’ Name calling was the primary resistance against those who would try this when I was a kid. Terms like ‘teachers pet’ or ‘brown nose’ along with other crass remarks that would just might be better left in a sex therapy session were used against those who would try this. But for now is has become an acceptable practice and is encouraged in the workplace as a way of getting things done as well as making people more innovative.
So why is networking bad? For one it is not genuine. How is one to have an honest conversation with someone who is merely digging for information they can use against you so they can get ahead? Networking has no honor.
Second, networking has no merit. They did not obtain their position because they earned it; they achieved their title because they are sycophants. It is nothing more than the good old boys club patting each other on the back while the rest of us do their bidding and because we do our jobs, we do their job too. By merely networking sycophants will mix incompetence with empowerment, the absurd will happen, countermeasures will be made, and the rest of us will learn to live with it while developing a good sense of humor watching the whole thing enfold.
Third networking produces a sense of apathy. Networkers do not want to exasperate those they want to impress. They sign the forms, follow the rules, obey the orders and they do not consider the sociopathic implications of their actions.
On a micro level this might be all right. But when we consider the bigger picture with a six trillion dollar unnecessary war, predatory loans which nearly bankrupt the country, and a health care bill that is not a health care bill, but a tax write off for the rich, we cannot afford networking leadership.