Take the Meeting

You never know what could come of it.

Photo: Stephen D/Flickr

If someone asks you to go to coffee and you’ve already cleared it upfront that it is definitely not a date, congratulations, you’re going to a meeting.

Maybe it’s a professional meeting! Maybe it’s someone who wants to pick your brain. (If so, be careful and consider what you can or can’t do with your own time. Your rules, not mine. Boundaries.) Maybe 2017 is your Year of Yes and you’re starting to say “that’s fine” to something that you would normally ignore or reject outright.

Despite the circumstances, there is a meeting on the books.

The impulse to say no to a meeting, especially one whose intentions are unclear, can be strong. For a while, I’d shy away from meetings, networking and things of the like, citing a deep-seated fear of talking to strangers about My Career. Part of it was that I wasn’t happy in my career at that point; a meeting isn’t going to solve career dissatisfaction. But it could be a step in a direction that would move the needle towards happiness or at least contented complacency for a little while.

Once upon a time when I was looking for work, desperate to get out of the job I had and into something else, I asked a friend of a friend who worked at a company that I thought I’d like to work for about job opportunities. He suggested that we have a meeting over coffee instead. We sat in an overheated cafe in Midtown while I stammered through what felt like a job interview that I had orchestrated myself. We talked. I figured out that the job I might have at his company did not sound like something I wanted to do. We drank coffee. I paid. I took the meeting. It wasn’t a waste of time.

You never know until you actually do it, anyway. Maybe they want to ask you about work and what you’d like to do more of. Maybe there is opportunity lying on the table that could get you out of the bad thing and into something good. Or, maybe the person asking you for coffee is just interested in what you do and wants to help you do it better. Your life could change! Or you could learn something. Who knows? Just take the meeting.

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