I'm not one to meet and talk to new people all the time. However, I definitely recognize the utility of building relationships with an ever expanding group of people. Not just to serve some end goal of mine, but simply to know these people....
Tonight was one of those nights where I was reminded of the importance of getting to know people. We had a happy hour with colleagues after an all day meeting. The idea was for folks from San Jose and folks from other offices to get together after a long day of presentations and business speak. It turned out that most of the folks from San Jose didn't come to the happy hour since they plan on coming to dinner on Wednesday evening.
I actually ended up spending a lot of time at the happy hour. I sort of feel bad for this since my wife was at home while I was out having drinks. But this situation helped put into perspective why I came to the happy hour in the first place. It wasn't to get a few free drinks (afterall, what's $10 in the scheme of things?). It wasn't to get to know more about the issues my colleagues were facing in their jobs. That's what the daytime meetings were for. It was really to build relationships with them. These relationships may help me in my day job and they may not, but I wasn't so concerned about that over a pint of beer.
To be honest, I could care less about our day jobs since I really have no desire to stay in my current job in the long run. But at the end of the night I found a lot of value in simply knowing my colleagues apart from their jobs. It's nice to know that one of my co-workers moved from Ireland to Brussels and hopes to never move back to the place he grew up in. It's nice to know that another of my co-workers had to convince her parents to live near her home after their retirement.
Will this knowledge ever help me in my day job? Probably. Do I care if it doesn't? No.
And that's the point. I rarely make an effort to meet new people. But when I do, I find such great fulfillment in knowing more about those around me. It makes me wonder why I don't do such things more often. I guess I have to be satisfied in simply being thrown into positions where I don't have to make much effort. In such cases, I go full bore and take advantage of the situation. Unfortunately my wife had to sit alone at home in this case, but did I find something to gain out of it? Yes.
Now I'll just have to spend a little more time at home :)