5 Lessons I Learned from Networking with 8th Graders

Guest Post from Rob at ONGIG.com who attended our Citizen Schools California 6 Degrees Bay Area event in January. I was privileged to participate in a Citizen Schools event in which 8th graders from Oakland, California got to practice their networking skills with a handful of “adults” with jobs, like me.

The whole idea was to get these kids to practice networking skills: handing out their resumes, talking about their career aspirations. Awesome!

1) Kids Like To Smile More Than Adults

Even though these 8th graders were super-nervous, they were full of smiles. I wish us adults did that more often at our professional events.

2) Kids Can Be Quite Serious About Their Careers

This guy above (on the right) walked right up to me and said:

“You are an entrepreneur. I want to invent something and start my own business. Let’s talk.”

Right on!

3) Networking Is Not Natural — It’s Downright Scary

I shook a lot of sweaty palms and most kids had a hard time looking me in the eye.

Once we broke the ice, they relaxed.

But it reminded me that we as humans are not born with the ability to network. We have to learn it.

4) Kids Dream Big But Also Within Reason

Kids I talked to said they wanted to be a:

  • Professional soccer player or wrestler
  • Lawyer
  • Psychologist
  • Fashion designer
  •  Videogame designer/tester
  • Doctor
  • Rocket Engineer
  • Cosmetologist

And the majority wanted to attend Stanford University for college!

5) Kids Work Hard & Are Committed To Getting The Job Done

These kids attend middle school until 6pm every night! They were here networking with me after 8+ hours of schooling.


Thanks again to Joe Ross, Nora Germano, Danielle Sharon and the rest of the Citizen Schools crew for helping to make this happen (and Minnie from Google for connecting us).