You know, jetlag gets a bad rap--but today I've got to give Old Man J some credit. It's not yet 8AM and I'm already writing this email, eating greek yogurt in a café window seat as I watch the sun come up over West London.
Hello, beautiful commuters walking to the train. Don't look so glum. It's not raining yet, and IIIIIIII live in England now.
Now, this is not my first rodeo when it comes to relocation. But even for me, moving to a new city (or a new country) always feels a bit surreal for a few hours/days/months. You could've sworn you missed an orientation class somewhere, or at least an airport security line you were supposed to get scanned through.
In my experience, it always feels much less momentous than the opening credits of The Hills.
Over Christmas, several people asked me how I feel about 'starting from scratch' again. But I just don't see it that way.
Sure, there are a few elements of from-scratch-ness (I have no permanent address at the minute for example), but I'm also really confident in my abilities to network my way into any new environment.
And actually, because of the #entrylevelboss approach I take to my own life, I kinda feel like I already am networked in the UK... without ever doing too much networking stuff.
(I literally randomly ran into an internet friend at dinner last night and I've stumbled across at least 8 friends on Bumble so far. Strong start.)
"Well that sounds nice enough for you, Alexa, but what about the rest of us?"
Getting to that now, calm down. You see, here's my theory...
To network is to get curious, often
Everyone always complains about networking as if there are a whole bunch of people standing around some Holiday Inn ballroom in a non-sexual speed-dating frenzy and you've just decided not to attend.
And that's probably just not true.
Networking, like everything else, is a lot more subtle these days.
The most networked people are the ones who are most curious about their communities, their cities (or wanna-be cities), and their industries (or wanna-be industries).
If you're getting ready to put the full-court-press on moving to a new city, or you're looking to get more connected in the one you call home, here are five of my preferred strategies:
(1) Get on Twitter. Twitter is the only social platform where you can just kinda go introduce yourself to anybody and everybody.
Start by following all local journalists, as they are the beating heart of the internet as it relates to your city. Follow people, not brands. Go make yourself some friends.
Follow me too: @alexashoen
(2) Coworking spaces. I've said this a billion times already, but coworking spaces are the fastest, friendliest, lowest-pressure way to meet new people in any town.
Google 'best coworking spaces in _______" and make a list of the top five in your area. Many of them will have social or event calendars. Almost all of them will let you come hang out and explore for a day for free.
(3) If you're a woman, find a female-focused networking group. Again, just google it: "women in business _____" or "women in music ______" will do.
(4) If you're a person of any gender, consider starting your own signature thing.
Doesn't matter if it's a monthly champagne tasting or a tee-ball invitational, really. Start once a month, start with three people, and ask each person to invite someone they find interesting but might not hang out with regularly.
Pretty soon, you'll be the Gertrude Stein of your generation.
(5) If you're a runner, go join November Project or something similar. From what I hear, runners are weirdly cultish and open to hugging early in the morning.
And at least a dozen people in the past year have told me they met their new employer/roommate/boyfriend through November Project, specifically.
People always say you can find friends at yoga, but I personally feel that everyone is too zen and balanced to want to chat after class.
As I spend the next few weeks roaming around England and connecting myself, I'm going to keep talking about this networking topic and show you, as specifically as I can, how to make it all happen.
In the meantime, follow me on Snapchat: @alexashowtime
PS: As a very special treat, I just went and dug up the Tumblr blog I kept in Leeds, starting with the first post, written on this same kind of morning but almost 5.5 years ago. Enjoy.
PPS: Digging the #entrylevelboss life? The best way to care is to share, baby. Forward this email to one friend this morning and have them sign up here. See? Look at us. Networking.