The day will come historians and archeologists will do their research and discover "LinkedIn." They will point to it and say,
"There, THERE! Look there! We have found why the US collapsed."
So allow me to explain "networking" and why I and any intellectually honest person loathes it.
"Networking" is not a skill or a trade. It doesn't produce anything of value and ultimately, it is destructive. It is, however, the perfect "skill" for a population too lazy to learn real skills but still wants to make it look like they're working. I'll even admit right now, people with good "networking skills" and the most "LinkedIn" connections do command higher salaries, but it is a temporary phenomenon. A "linkedIn" bubble if you will, because in the end networking is nothing more than kissing ass instead of kicking ass. Talking, instead of producing. Planning, but never executing.
Because of this networking has no real economic value. All the time people spend going to "after-work socials," "conventions," and "happy hours" to hobnob, establish contacts and "network" produces nothing. The salaries, wages, not to mention money spent on booze and food are all sunk costs, with no return. If anything, networking is nothing more than an excuse to spend the company's money on booze, food, travel and other personal expenditures with the secret understanding that it's "for business" *wink wink*. But it's precisely because that's what networking is, that makes it so palatable to its participants and lodges it securely in America's business culture.
While it is at minimum unproductive or has zero economic value, I will take it a step further and contend it's actually destructive. The reason why is that is it nulls the efficiency of the labor market. Not just in terms of employing people, but what people you do business with, who you promote, who gets contracts, etc. etc. These spoils of business do not go to the best or most qualified candidate, it goes to the best networker - i.e.- the best charlatan - who is usually not only not capable as others, but is usually dishonest. Allow me to provide you an example.
I went to a wedding this summer. The guy getting married was in sales. All of his co-workers were tall, good looking younger men (23-28). All of them drove BMW's, Mercedes, and had tall drop dead gorgeous girlfriends. I overheard that the groom would not hang out with people unless they made at least $70,000 per year.
It comes time for the best man to give a speech. He gets up, and this moron is wearing sunglasses indoors. He then proceeds to deliver the typical, DB, fratboy speech that had nothing intelligent, nothing clever and nothing witty in it. Just blathering on about the good ole times and drinking and lame attempt at humor (which I'll leave out to prevent from ID'ing this guy).
He was the type of guy Stewie from Family Guy would "just have to kill." You had a natural urge to beat the crap out of him.
But this guy could outsell me in a nano-second. This guy could network beyond my wildest dreams. This guy had the Beamer and the tall girlfriend.
This guy had no problem lying his ass off.
I can't prove it, but I KNEW he was fake. I knew all those Beamers were financed to the hilt. I KNEW none of these guys owned their own home or had a positive networth (in part because I knew this was the case with the groom). But just like their girlfriends, they didn't know the difference between debt or equity spending, they just had a Beamer, went to fancy clubs, so they were "rich."
But let me ask you a question - who is more likely to be promoted to CEO in today's corporate America?
The smooth talking DB who wears sunglasses in doors and is fun?
Or is anal retentive, boring economist counterpart that insists on looking at the figures?
And now you see why networking is destructive.
Putting such an emphasis on "people skills" and "networking" only takes the focus off of what really matters, the numbers and profits. Hiring "nice" and "charming" people merely masks and hides the cold, blunt truth of the company's finances and future. Everybody likes the "fun guy," nobody likes the "party pooper." And as long as the boat isn't being rocked, everybody is happy right up until the nano-second the Titanic sinks because nobody bothered to look below decks.
Of course, not all companies are infected with this disease. There are companies that do focus on profits, want to maximize them, and increase shareholder value. But none come to mind right now. However, a limitless number of companies I know are infected with this disease. Heck, entire industries. And they account for the vast majority of companies in the US.
Again, rip apart the public sector all you want. The private sector is just as hopelessly corrupt and impaired. Thankfully, just like a person on welfare or a trophy wife spending more money than he husband makes, when the Chinese stop loaning us money, those all-star "networkers" will go the way of the dinosaur.