I left two-and-a-half hours before my networking event . . . and got there five minutes before the shindig started. Dear god, that was the most horrifying commute ever (by contrast: the ride home took 45 minutes).
But it was worth it, I think. It's actually kind of brilliant to set up an event whose sole purpose is professional networking. We all hit the ground running, equally new to one another, and passed out a flurry of business cards. The only down side for me was that, although I thought I had registered, I actually hadn't. So my experience was way more random than everyone else's (who got placed at tables, by courses, according to their industries, undergrad majors, and graduation year). It would have been helpful to corral all the publications-related people in one location.
The amusing thing was, the other accidentally unregistered person was also a writer, freelance. So he had some good tips as we bounced, randomly, from table to table and begged and bartered for meal tickets. I'll be following up.
Meanwhile, I've got a sense of the county's job market (13 percent unemployment!!), thanks to the speaker. I've also got a stack of cards, some vaguely promised work, and new Facebook and Linked In contacts.