Job Title: Charmed Bridge
January 18, 2009 10:36 PM   Subscribe

I connect very different groups together, and I also tend to make people famous. Where in the world could I make a living out of this?

I've noticed two strong patterns in my life lately:

a) I really enjoy finding connections between two or more things/people/groups that don't necessarily have anything in common. For example, my boyfriend and I are working on a web app where people are presented with two different fields of study (say Biology and Architecture) and they provide an idea for how both fields can be combined (creating buildings structurally based on human beings). I tend to do this as a mental hobby, though I've also used this skill a LOT in idea generating - thinking up different sponsorship avenues, connecting contacts with each other, etc.

b) I've somehow managed to inadvertently make friends famous/well-known/happy thanks to a tip or referral. I got one of my close friends on to Twitter and now she's become a very prominent member of the local Twitter group, even to the point of organising events for them (she's an events geek so this is right up her alley). Other friends have heard about conferences from me and got in (I applied and I didn't get in!!), or earned auditions I referred them for, or developed very close friendships/relationships with other people I've introduced them to. The luck doesn't necessarily extend to me personally, but somehow I've got a knack of making others charmed.

I'd like to do more of the above as a current career path. Where would those skills and abilities be useful?

I love research and I like to meet people (though I can be a bit socially awkward). I thrive in conferences and volunteer excursions; not so much in parties. The only thing I can think of is "talent agent" or "networker", but I'm sure there's more that I'm missing.
posted by divabat to Work & Money (19 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Development. This is how fundraising works. Bonus = salary, in demand even in these weirdo financial times. (Development professionals, please chime in.)
posted by desuetude at 10:48 PM on January 18, 2009

Public Relations, outward facing. It's all about connecting people and making people more visible to a larger audience.
posted by davejay at 10:52 PM on January 18, 2009

Become an agent at a speakers' bureau?
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:01 PM on January 18, 2009

Yep, I was going to say talent agent. There's not a lot of money in this, but if you're already getting people auditions, that's basically what you'd be doing as an actor's agent. The thing about being an agent in a particular industry (film, music, literature, etc) is that it's pretty much a requirement to have a lot of connections IN the industry. It sounds like your contacts are somewhat broader, not so concentrated. But if you could focus on developing theater (or whatever) connections in preparation to take the plunge, it might be something fun to try.
posted by rkent at 11:21 PM on January 18, 2009

I have a friend like you whom I joking refer to as "a highly connected node". In Yiddish, we'd call her a "macher".

She is very involved in conferences, seminars, and speaking tours, but another source of income for her is organising art and craft shows. The money comes in the form of a cut from exhibitors and sponsors, but I think soon her events will become popular enough that she'll be able to charge admission as well. She's successful, I think, because she is good at assembling diverse but complementary people into a whole. Said friend is also somewhat nervous and anxious and suffers from various issues dealing with people - but this doesn't stop her. (I was going to say it doesn't slow her down, but maybe it does - in any event, she overcomes personal barriers to get these things happening).

So a logical direction for you is taking on roles where you learn about the logistics of organising events and then take the risk of starting events of your own.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:54 PM on January 18, 2009

If you have this knack, and like music, you might also consider being a manager for a musician or band.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:55 PM on January 18, 2009

Sounds like PR to me.
posted by OrangeDrink at 12:52 AM on January 19, 2009

Have you considered running singles' dating events (or not-necessarily-romantic) networking events, designed around different occupations?

Put fifty engineers and fifty yoga teachers in a room together, set out some celery sticks and carrots, and charge the engineers forty a head.
posted by darth_tedious at 1:17 AM on January 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Cool Hunter
posted by skewedoracle at 2:23 AM on January 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

If you have any interest in advocacy or politics, then it sounds like you would make a great organizer. What you described is basicaly the whole job: you find people who are interested, get them involved, help them find the thing that they're really good at, and make them leaders. It can be enormously satisfying.
posted by lunasol at 5:14 AM on January 19, 2009

Recruiting / headhunting sounds like it might fit
posted by sevenyearlurk at 6:28 AM on January 19, 2009

I agree with the ideas that others noted above. I wanted to add that if you can continually develop these talents and add confidence, fashion sensibility, humility and respect for others (including "little people") to the mix you can work your way into some highly lucrative, self-designed positions.
posted by uhom at 7:15 AM on January 19, 2009

It sounds like you are what Malcom Gladwell would call a connector. He describes what connectors do in his book, The Tipping Point. Connectors understand the importance of weak ties. Go read the book, or at least the chapter on connectors.
posted by Brodiggitty at 8:16 AM on January 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

Pretty much any sort of advocacy/public interest/political organization can use people like you. Also (and I usually never advise anyone of this!) you might want to consider law school. Having broad-ranging interests and the ability to think creatively can really make law fun.
posted by footnote at 9:22 AM on January 19, 2009

And also, consider journalism.
posted by footnote at 9:23 AM on January 19, 2009

Headhunter. Get paid for making good matches.

Even in a down marketing, knowing niche people (and finding good homes for them in organizations, projects, etc.) can be a big boon. I believe that for FT hires, headhunters often receive a good portion of a year of that person's salary. Yeah.
posted by zpousman at 9:27 AM on January 19, 2009

New occupations are springing up by the bucketload. Perhaps you've discovered one. You are a Matchmaker. You connect people for synergistic success. You match their talents to new opportunities.

If the idea of founding a new industry sounds exciting to you, create a name for this new profession. Choose a title for yourself (e.g., "Chief Genie"). Select a pithy one-liner about what you do. Then come up with a fee structure that suits you. For example, you could charge a registration or membership fee to all who wish to utilize your services, or a finder's fee when matches are made.

Once you have visibility, a running business, and a web presence, give a shout to the media. In this present economic debacle, I suspect you'd generate quite a lot of interest.
posted by terranova at 9:43 AM on January 19, 2009

I think of the "talent management" side of the arts and PR both as kind of pressured, sales-y things. If you'd like something more low-key, but utilizing a lot of the skills you've outlined, consider being a librarian, especially in an academic library. Here in the U.S., you'll need a master's degree, but it's not a particularly demanding one. I'm not sure what the requirements are in Australia.

A big part of librarianship at a university is helping people get connected to the things (resources, conferences, publishing opportunities, campus programs) that they need. Depending on the particular position you hold, you may get to do research for yourself or others, and that mental hobby you have of connecting things will come in handy every single day in dozens of different ways. You'd likely also have an outlet for your tech skills, if that web app is something you're building yourself.

you'd also get to join the super cool mefi librarians club
posted by donnagirl at 9:53 AM on January 19, 2009

Personal coaching. It combines networking and insight, and is very very lucrative. There is training involved, and it also helps with positioning you as a coach.

I think about going into this myself. But worry I don't like people enough.
posted by micawber at 8:01 PM on January 19, 2009

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