One thing I have learned from working independently in the sexuality field is that networking is absolutely essential. I do it all the time. In fact, I’d say I am shameless when it comes to “pimping myself out” to other professionals and potential contacts.
Prime example: my partner recently sold his iPod off of Kijiji; the purchaser was friendly and told us that he is a high school teacher. I asked what the sex ed programming is like where he works and within seconds had given him both of my business cards and told him a bit about what I do.
Like I said — shameless.
I’ve found LinkedIn to be another great source of like-minded contacts. There aren’t too many of us (relative to the overall population) — but we sexuality educators find ways of connecting and sharing info and ideas and I’ve recently joined a LinkedIn group to do just that.
The BEST networking method I’ve found so far? Volunteering. Without a doubt. I have met more professionals and made more connections through volunteering than any other way. I think it’s because when I’m volunteering for something, I’m engaged and I’m showing just how passionate I am about the cause and about what I do. Now that I’ve settled into life in Cambridge, I’ve signed up to volunteer at ACCKWA – The AIDS Committee of Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and Area. You should check them out!
Anyway, I’d better get back to my shameless self-promotion …