Sunday, July 20, 2014


Used as a noun (and not to be confused with infomercial), an informational is a meeting with a person in your field (or in a field you'd LIKE to be your field), not for the purpose of asking for a job, but for the purpose of finding out more about the field so that you might know where and how to ask for a job. Oh, and to provide the person, and hopefully therefore, the person's "people," with information about yourself so that THEY will ask YOU about a job.

I have not been on a lot of informationals. It's hard for me to find that middle ground between "having coffee" and "going on an interview."

Would more "informationals" be useful? Of course. But I'm realizing that what I am missing is not so much the ability to gather information. Rather, I am missing out on the practice of putting out information about myself, and that is a skill that I (and pretty much anyone) can't live without.

Don't we put out information about ourselves every day? Isn't there information about ourselves in the work that we do, in the conversations we have, in the choices we make? Of course. The problem is, this information might define us quite well (or not well at all), but it is more than anyone who doesn't know us (and some of the people who do know us) can process. Information, in the sense of an informational, needs to be the boiled-down version--the five-minute summary of who we are and what we want, which may encompass years of work and conversations and choices, but takes only a few moments to convey. It's not easy. We're used to working things through over coffee. We're used to saying "yes" to so many tasks and defining ourselves as so many different people during the course of the day, that it's tricky to nail down just one person. But giving information, in a way and an amount of time that people can process, is a skill unto itself, and one that we would all do well to master.

Who am I, and what do I want? I'm not sure, and it depends on the day. Clearly, I have work to do before my next informational.

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