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The team also posited that networking felt ickier when a meeting was planned ahead of time, rather than a spontaneous occurrence. We thought the difference was important because one has more intent than the other—and that intent might contribute to feelings of being selfish. The researchers conducted a series of experimental and field studies to test the extent to which networking makes people feel dirty. In the first experiment, participants were asked to recall an event from the past and write about it for five minutes.
They were divided into four conditions. In the first condition, participants recalled a time where they intentionally set out to nurture a relationship for professional gain. In the second, they recalled a time when a spontaneous meeting had benefited them professionally. The third and fourth conditions were similar to the first two, but participants were focused on personal gain instead.
8 Real Women on Their Most Embarrassing Hookups
The researchers found that those who had recalled intentional networking were nearly twice as likely to come up with "cleansing" words—"shower," "wash," and "soap"—than those who had recalled spontaneous meetings. Participants in the spontaneous condition were more likely to create non-cleansing words like "shaker," "with," and "ship.
In the second experiment, held in a university research laboratory, 85 students read one of two short stories. Both were written in the second person. In one, the protagonist "you" went to a holiday party with hopes of having fun and making friends; in the other, the protagonist attended a company party solely to make business connections. Afterward, the researchers asked participants to read through a list of consumer products and rate each one on a desirability scale of one to seven.
The list included several specific cleansing items such as Dove shower soap, Crest toothpaste, Windex as well as neutral items like Post-it Notes, Nantucket Nectars juice, Sony CD cases. On average, participants who read the professional networking story gave much higher ratings to the cleansing products than those who imagined the friendly party.
Hookup Culture Leaves Me Feeling Empty | Thought Catalog
The neutral products received similar ratings across the board. Having proven their initial hypotheses in the lab, the researchers set up camp at a large North American law firm, where lawyers often garnered business via networking engagements. A law firm is an ideal setting for a field study, Gino explains, because it is designed around quantifiable measures of success: Each of the firm's lawyers received an invitation to complete an online survey that included questions about the frequency of their networking activity, and how it made them feel.
For example, " When I engage in professional networking, I usually feel… " was followed by a choice of several adjectives, including "dirty," "happy," "ashamed," "excited," "inauthentic," "anxious," "uncomfortable," and "satisfied. Of the lawyers responding, 62 were junior partners and 21 senior partners. The researchers measured the responses against each respondent's annual job performance, in terms of billable hours at the firm. As expected, those lawyers who associated networking with negative feelings tended to engage in networking activities with relatively low frequency.
Yet networking had a positive association with job performance: The lawyers who networked the most frequently tended to clock the most billable hours, according to the research. The data also showed that having a high-power job seemed to dissipate feelings of dirtiness.
Compared with junior associates, senior partners reported far less feelings of dirtiness associated with networking. That said, the researchers considered the possibility that these particular lawyers had risen to partner level because they hadn't been turned off by networking.
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To further suss out the psychological effect of power, the team conducted a carefully constructed role-playing task, in which college students were assigned to the role of either a low-power employee or a high-powered manager. Each participant filled out a leadership questionnaire from the mindset of the prescribed character.
see Next, participants were told to reach out to someone in their online networks. There seems to be very little middle ground, and I blame the hookup culture. Where men would get high-fives for this behavior, women receive derogatory name-calling.
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Nothing terrifies me more than being so close to someone and then watching them become a stranger again. Sign up for the Thought Catalog Weekly and get the best stories from the week to your inbox every Friday. You may unsubscribe at any time. By subscribing, you agree to the terms of our Privacy Statement.
But mainly I would love to start every conversation with a potential love interest like this: More From Thought Catalog.