Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Business Card Waltz

I went to a meeting of a new nonprofit group last night, The Taproot Foundation. The idea behind the organization is great -- get professionals to donate their time and their functional skills to help nonprofits accomplish tasks they wouldn't be able to otherwise - build websites, send out annual reports, identify a brand. It's a chance for nonprofits to get pro bono help and a chance for professionals to use their skills for the greater good.

And network.

I hadn't even walked in the door before I was assaulted with the handshakes and the business cards. I was asked, "who are you and what do you do?" but what they really wanted to know was what could I do for them.

We went around the room giving introductions. Why were we here, what interested us in Taproot. The answers ranged from, "I'm unemployed and looking to build up my contacts" to "I want to get a new job and am looking to network" to "I need to beef up my resume to advance my career and I'm hoping to meet new people in the industry."

Well, at least we're honest.

I confess, I was there to meet people too. Except I'm just looking for friends - like-minded people interested in creating a better world in whatever way we can.

I shouldn't be surprised - ask professionals to give of their time and true to any business cost-benefit calculation, they'll figure out what they can get out of it. An extrapolation of Darwinism or The Selfish Gene, I suppose. But it would be nice to labor under the idea that sometimes we just do things because it's the right thing to do.

How are those rose colored glasses working for you, Kalesy?