英语学习杂志 2016-03-10 17:09





By Leo Luo

陈馨 注

Ask any college student about the best part of attending university in Washington D.C., and he or she will most likely respond with “the networking opportunities.” Because of its status as the political capital of the West, countless dignitaries and high-ranking officials from around the world descend upon D.C. each day. Strolling down Pennsylvania Avenue alongside the headquarters of the World Bank or the FBI, bumping into the movers and shakers of the international community is as easy as rounding the next corner. To prove my point, one of my classmates even took a selfie with John Kerry, the Secretary of State of the U.S.A., while he was window-shopping with his wife. With the abundance of influential people waiting to be discovered, potential internships at prestigious organizations are just a handshake and an elevator pitch away. After two years immersed in this environment, I’ve realized that the most powerful weapon in Washington D.C. is not Obama’s key to the nuclear weapons, but simply a honeyed tongue and a chance to network.

The official definition of networking means establishing connections with contacts, or even potential employers, at various organizations. But in practice, networking is the art of presenting the most qualified version of yourself to people in power. The art-form balances the confidence to approach strangers and an elastic mind to adjust to any situation whatsoever. In the bluntest terms, networking consists of sucking up to those most useful for personal career advancement. When I first learned about the ins-and-outs of networking, it sounded like the exact opposite of the supposed meritocracy of America. Instead of promoting the classical American virtues of integrity and hard work, this practice seemed to cement the idea that success revolves around “who you know, not what you know.” And the worst part, my university was encouraging this kind of behaviour through the recommendations of both the career center and upperclassmen. At the exact moment when students are meant to open their minds to as much new knowledge as possible, they are seduced by opportunities to bolster their resumes to become as marketable as possible. The most overzealous of these students even work on job applications during class time. I distinctly remember trying to inspire a discussion amongst my peers in my Political and Social Thought class, only to be met with silence punctuated by everyone typing away at their resumes. From that moment on, I would grimace anytime someone mentioned the word “networking,” and I absolutely refused to become involved.

But while my classmates began to snag internships left and right, I continued to receive no replies from the places that I applied to. Not only did I lose count of the number of times that I said “I dunno” when friends asked what my summer plans were, but I had also already memorized how their eyebrows would left and how they hesitated before quickly replying: “I’m sure you’ll find something!” By the time the cherry blossoms had already wilted that year, I finally decided to give this “networking” a try. Donning my wrinkled suit, I strolled into a career fair at my school with nothing in my hands but a notebook and a pen. That was mistake number one. All of my peers around me clutched copies of their resumes, stuffing them into the hands of the various company representatives sitting at their desks in the conference hall. Imitating what everyone else did, I hopped in line with a consulting company that I had not heard of until today. When I came face to face with the representative, she asked me “What do you do at Georgetown ?” I jumped into the obvious answer. “Well, I’m a student here, but I don’t know what I’m going to major in.” Mistake number two. The representative’s eyes lost their glimmer . Although she answered all my questions, her wandering eyes told me that she was eager to move onto the next candidate. Announcing a “Thank you” to the representative, I moved out of the line and busied myself with examining their flyers spread out at their table. As I shuffled away, I started to watch how the upperclassmen networked. Words tumbled out of their mouths, with buzzwords like “goal-driven” and “mission statements” swarming in their speeches. After sharing a final firm handshake, they exchanged business cards with a grin and a promise to call. Business cards! I thought to myself, “What is a college student doing with a business card?” Once I got over my disbelief, my thoughts turned to “how do they make it look so easy?”

I found my answer by being on the receiving end of this networking. One day last spring, while I buried my head in a biology textbook, a classmate, who I barely talk to outside of class, slid into the chair facing me. With a huge grin, she dragged me into a conversation:

“Hey Leo!” she exclaimed. “Long time no see!”

I raised one eyebrow, since we had just met in class about two hours ago. But she appeared unfazed and happily continued:

“What are you working on?”

I pointed at my textbook and replied: “Eh, not much. Just some bio .”

My classmate stretched her eyelids as far as they could open, revealing a pair of gleaming eyes. She clapped her hands together and gushed, “Oh, that’s so cool that you’re taking bio! I love bio! Back in high school, I was a research assistant for a professor at Yale! Oh man, I was slaving in the lab every day. It was SOOO much work, you know?”

“Reeally…?” I replied, grasping at an appropriate response. “But how come you’re a political science major now?”

Her grin, which was already covering half her face, grew wider.

“Oh you know, life happens. I just decided to volunteer one day for my local city elections, just to see what it’s like. Next thing I know, I get suuuper involved in the entire campaign. And I was like, I don’t know the first thing about politics, but it is so cool. And so here I am.”

I whistled in awe. “Wow… that’s pretty impressive. We’re the same grade, but you’ve done so much more than me.”

Her expression lit up, but she still kept her bulging eyes trained on mine. “Awww, thanks! But you’re so much more talented. I mean, you dance!”

Just when I gathered breath to respond, she broke eye contact to glance at her phone. She clapped her hand to her mouth.

“Oh no, look at the time. I need to get to my internship. The Morgan Stanley office is SOOO far away. Let’s get coffee soon.” She patted my shoulder and breezed away.

I had to blink a couple times to process everything she threw at me. From the way she flashed perfect smiles to her insistence on stroking others’ egos, she had stamped a dazzling image of herself onto me. She made me feel appreciated while presenting her best traits for me to admire. Perhaps the deepest impression that she left was her casual mentions of her accomplishments. Even though she was interning at one of the most powerful financial institutions in the world, she laughed it off by complaining about how far away their offices were. In other words, she veiled her talent underneath a shroud of humility and charm. And all of that in less than five minutes! The professionals may call this behaviour networking, but the translation for us commoners is “a tongue dripping with honey.”

I am known for being honest to a fault, especially in regards to keeping my promises. But this time, I broke my word to stay away from networking. Over the summer after my sophomore year, I trawled my university databases for records of alumni who worked in influential organizations. Whenever I found an email address, I shot off a message, with just the right amount of wheedling and praise, in order to arrange a meet-up for coffee. Despite the blazing D.C. summer, I suited up every other day to exchange resumes and discuss the insider strategies of applying to various internships. Thinking back to my classmate, I channelled her spirit and began to cultivate my own networking style. However, I did learn one thing about networking that allowed me to forgive myself. During my talks, a honeyed tongue only works for the first few minutes as you shake hands and crack the occasional joke. But once you actually start talking about your own passions and goals, that’s when your accumulated knowledge will come to light. Although charm can be faked, the insight and curiosity given by a proper education, replete with diverse literature and cross-industry knowledge, will always be the real deal. In other words, a honeyed tongue may open the door, but a classical education will be your guiding light for the journey ahead. As school started up again, I had donned my suit one more time, but this time I sported an ID badge for my newfound internship. My friends asked me if I was headed off to network, but I smiled and replied: “Nope. Just off to prove that I’m more than just a honeyed tongue.”


1. hub: 中心;honeyed tongue: 能言善道的人。

2. networking: 人际关系网。

3. dignitary: 达官显贵;descend upon: 涌入。

4. stroll: 散步;Pennsylvania Avenue: 宾夕法尼亚大道;headquarter: 总部;FBI: Federal Bureau of Investigation, 联邦调查局;bump into: 偶然碰到;mover and shaker: 有权势的人物;round: v. 绕过。

5. John Kerry: 约翰•克里,现任美国国务卿;window-shopping: 浏览商店橱窗。

6. 在这里,有不计其数的大人物等着你发现,一次握手、一场电梯演讲都有可能为你赢得去知名企业实习的机会。abundance of: 大量的,众多的;elevator pitch: 电梯演讲,意为在坐电梯时的短短30秒到1分钟里向别人介绍自己,说出自己的长处,并成功吸引住对方;prestigious: 著名的。

7. immerse in: 沉浸于。

8. qualified: 有资格的。

9. elastic: 灵活的。

10. blunt: 直白的;suck up to: 讨好,奉承。

11. ins-and -outs: 详细情况;meritocracy: 精英管理制度。

12. integrity: 诚实正直;cement: 强化;revolve around: 围绕,以……为重要内容。

13. recommendation: 建议;upperclassman: (中学或大学的)高年级学生。

14. 就在学生们需要尽可能多地学习新知识时,他们也被许多能够美化自己简历的实习机会所诱惑,以使自己就业行情更好。seduce: 引诱;bolster: 加强,提高;resume: 简历;marketable: 有销路的,符合市场需求的。

15. overzealous: 过于热情的。

16. 我还清楚地记得在社会政治思想课上,我试图鼓励大家进行讨论,现场一片沉默,唯一的声音是同学们编辑简历时发出的键盘敲击声。distinctly: 清楚地;punctuate: 不时打断。

17. grimace: (因疼痛、厌恶等)做怪相,扮鬼脸。

18. snag: 抓住,获得;left and right: 到处。

19. lose count of: 数的过程中忘记,数不清;dunno: 非正式用法,即don’t know。

20. cherry blossom: 樱花;wilt: 枯萎,凋谢。

21. don: 穿上; wrinkled: 有褶皱的;career fair: 招聘会。

22. clutch: 紧握;stuff: 把……塞进。

23. imitate: 模仿,效仿;hop in: 跳入。

24. Georgetown: 指美国乔治敦大学(Georgetown University)。

25. 我没想太多,直接给出了最显而易见的答案。

26. glimmer: 微光。

27. wandering: 游动的;candidate: 求职者。

28. busy oneself with: 使自己忙于;flyer: (广告)传单。

29. shuffle: 拖着脚走路。

30. 他们谈吐自然流畅,话语中充满大量如“目标驱动”和“任务陈述”这样的专业术语。tumble: 蜂拥而出;buzzword: 时髦词语,(重要的)专门术语;swarm: 成群结队地移动。

31. unfazed: 不受影响的,不受烦扰的。

32. bio: 即biography,指“简略传记,个人简历”。

33. gleaming: 闪闪发亮的,晶莹的。

34. clap: 拍手;gush: 装腔作势地说,夸大其词地称赞。

35. grasp at: 抓住。

36. 生活总有意外。

37. whistle: 吹口哨;in awe: 敬畏地。

38. light up: (人的脸或眼睛)放光彩,露喜色;bulging: 凸出的;train: 对准。

39. clap: 突然把手放到……。

40. Morgan Stanley: 摩根士丹利,全球领先的国际性金融服务公司,世界500强企业。

41. pat: 轻拍(以示关心或抚慰); breeze: 自信地走。

42. blink: 眨眼。

43. flash a smile: 对某人一笑(指带有特定含义地快速做某个动作);stroke: 讨好,奉承(某人);stamp: 留下印记。

44. veil: 遮盖,掩饰;shroud: 覆盖物,遮蔽物;humility: 谦逊。

45. break one’s words: 失信,食言。

46. sophomore: 大二学生;trawl: 搜寻,搜索;alumni: 校友。

47. wheedling: 甜言蜜语。

48. blazing: 炎热的;suit up: 穿上正装。

49. channel: 传递,引导,这里指“借鉴”她的精神。

50. crack a joke: 说笑话。

51. accumulated: 累积的;come to light: 显露出来,为人所知。

52. 个人魅力可以假装,但是教育培养的洞察力和好奇心,以及广泛的人文知识和跨领域知识,才是最后决定一切的真才实学。insight: 洞察力;replete: 充足的;cross-industry: 跨行业。

53. sport: v. 惹人注目地穿戴;ID badge: 工作证,身份信息牌。

(来源:英语学习杂志 编辑:丹妮)

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