Networking has always been an element of my job I rather despise. Trying to get to know people, what they do, where they do it, and then deciding in a brief moment whether or not they could be a good connection. It's so forced and fake. Besides, there are only so many times you can start a conversation with, "Come here often?" before you're mistaken for someone looking for a good time...
Needless to say, I've never been keen on networking. There seems to be an element of pressure to perform, and showcase just how fabulous you are to acquire new business, or heaven forbid, create a new friendship which is entirely self-motivated. Yuck!
The reason for my nostagalic vomit, is a friend of mine recently followed her heart's passion and launched her very own networking website for professional Australian women. But unlike good old fashion face-to-face chin wagging, a website is the perfect platform to meet, connect and talk to women while you're safe and sound at home, in your pyjamas with your deep cleansing mask on while sitting propped up on your cushy European pillows in bed (and yes, that is exactly what I'm doing now).
Juggle Junction is a new online community where women of any age, background, employment status and 'life journey' are encouraged to...well...network. Be it as part of one of the many specialised groups (think Women in Business / Teachers / At Home Mums etc...) or just as a one-off question for other women in that group to answer.
It also offers great reads (ah hem...I might submit a few stories here and there), the chance to start your own private forums, ask for a little mentoring, reply to other users asking questions and generally access the brilliant minds (mine not so much brilliant as it is dazed and confused that randomly blurts out crap) in a private, non-judgemental and comfortable manner.
I'll be honest. When Nicole first told me about Juggle Junction and invited me to contribute regular columns, I was a little sceptical of its value. Does Australia really need another website for women to talk? Um... what other websites are there Sian? NONE!
Of course there are websites for Mums to seek advice and support, but I'm more than a Mother. Yes, there are websites for career networking, but I'm more than what I do for my fortnightly pay cheque. Hence the beauty of Juggle Junction. It skillfully mixes all these aspects of my life to be a one-stop-shop for me - a woman who happens to work, be a Mum, loves reading, cooking, shopping and having a laugh with good friends and could sometimes use a helping hand. I'm yet to find any other website that offers all of that in one place.
Needless to say the more I jump on, follow conversations, read all those well written, witty articles (nudge nudge wink wink say no more), ask questions and provide my own advice as part of a larger discussion, I do feel part of a valued community. Yes, I can interact as much or as little as I want to, but just like anything else, I feel like I gain more from it once I actively put more of myself in to it.
Juggle Junction is a rapidly growing website for women to connect, support and inspire other women. What can be so bad about that? Besides, until 31 December 2012 a 12 month membership to Juggle Junction is free. Ka-Ching!
Please take a look for yourself and let me know what you think. Visit Juggle Junction.
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