Curating People

“Sounds like you curate people.”

This was said in a less-than-admiring tone, by someone interviewing me for a job.

The question of networking had come up, and as usual I was struggling not to express how much I despise “fun” events which are really just a way of extending work hours.

I’m upfront about stating that I’m very protective of my non-work time, and that I’m very selective about which groups I join and which events I attend, and that in my experience it’s better to know the right people than the most people. Which is what led to the above comment. Because obviously some people think it’s anti-democratic to admit that not everyone has got something awesome to offer the world. But as a person with limited energy I reserve the right not to interact with just anyone.

Anyway, this is just another short post to say that I’m still not dead, I’m just curating people. It’s exhausting, but exciting. Plato’s army of lovers has nothing on my merry band of artists and mad scientists.

You’ll see.


  • It does suck. At my job, we HAVE to join certain job-related societies to be promoted when even the most senior person does not belong to any of these groups. My husband is always being volunteered for lectures and conferences. It goes beyond networking sometimes.

  • And unfortunately, it’s the new norm. It was an unpleasant surprise to see that academia was *ahead* of the curve on many objectionable work-related practices…but it’s made me all the noisier when objecting.

  • I wonder how much recreational drugs (legal and otherwise) do play the central element of “bonding” in American culture as a shared and somewhat contrarian, common/commune deviance from apparent strict enacted formal norms, yet expected if you want to show you’re part of the team. We all know how binge drinking is required of fraternities, etc., inhaling different stuffs among teenagers and preteens. Is it that way within corporate and government “teams” also?

    An immigrant Austinite, I was born in Bolivia, where regular social drunkeness and loud claims of loose sex mores are a total expectation for advancement pretty much anywhere – these make you into “one of the boys”, I guess even for women. This, of course, is something quite problematic for people who do not find getting drunk makes any sense.

    I got here following an invitation to collaborate with the Dyonisium, a most interesting activity which, once I read that it does involve hard drinking, I decided I will not contribute too, yet my anthopology-studies-dropout status left me wondering how much of a wider pattern it represents.

  • Oh man, I never thought of it that way. Corporate America must have looked at useless academic organizations and said “Look at that! A new way to keep people at work!”
    I guess this trend reinforces the old advice that, if you can’t stand the type of person who works in your field, you should try to get out, because you’ll be seeing a lot more of them than you’d have expected.

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