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My Time with Pedro* – Day 5

A new week has begun. I waited for Pedro to come home from work to spend some time with him. This was all I was in Brasilia for and so I didn’t go out to do more sightseeing. Most pictures I’m posting for the blog entries “My Time with Pedro…” were actually taken during my initial visit on Feb 11st and 12st.

Pedro came home during his two hour lunch break and we had lunch in a buffet type of restaurant which serves very tasteful food at a low price. Pedro’s life seems to have lots of routines consisting of things he likes to do and I wasn’t able to break these routines. I didn’t really try to do so since I wanted to experience him as he actually is. Routines I spotted are the places he has lunch on weekdays and breakfast on the weekends. Others are a nap during lunch time, watching movies and playing chess online. He seems not to have many friends in Brasilia since he moved to the city a few years ago leaving his friends in Rio behind. He needed to do so since he works in the governmental sector and there are much better career opportunities for him when he’s working in Brasilia or abroad rather than Rio or São Paulo. This probably makes the life of his girlfriend challenging since she will be his main focus point for social interaction. I can only guess this will lead to problems when his girlfriend is busy with work or other friends and is not able to dedicate most of her time to him. During my time in Brasilia he didn’t introduce me to any of his friends and I spent all my time exclusively with him.

I was also confused by Pedro coming home for lunch every day. First I thought he’s doing it because he wants to spend as much as time with me as possible and I certainly enjoy spending time with him. Later on I found out he’s also coming home when he has no guest and all his colleagues do the same. In my profession as a consultant this behavior would be a career killer. Usually my calendar is booked two weeks in advance with people I’m having lunch with. People I go to lunch with are clients I’m currently working for, clients I used to work for a few months or years ago, people I want to discuss certain business topics with resulting in them buying the services of my company, colleagues I’m currently working with, colleagues I used to work with several months or years ago, people from which I seek career coaching / advice, people seeking my coaching / advice, people I went to business school with, etc. And some of my dinners are spend with similar people for similar reasons.

Over the course of the past years I discovered making a career is not dependent on how smart you are, how hard you work or your actual work results. Basically your work needs to be very good and the rest which makes you really successful is your professional network. You basically need to establish a strong relationship to successful and influential people and as they progress in their career they will also make you to progress as well and get promoted. I tried to explain this fact to Pedro but I guess he didn’t really understand me since he thought establishing a relationship with a client or colleague is to have sex with them which is not the case at all. I never had sex with a client or colleague for career reasons and I don’t know any of my female colleagues who do so. Probably there are a few but I don’t know any in person. I’m also sure if such a behavior is detected in my company this would result in people getting fired.

Relationships are also the reason why there aren’t many women on the boards of multinational companies. The upper management levels (c-levels) and the boards are controlled by “old boys clubs” and they promote people who are similar to them: males with a dominant behavior which belong to their social network. When you search the internet for “social network” you will find more information on those networks, how they can be analyzed and used for multiple purposes such as influencing people. The popular website Facebook is nothing else but a social network and people can derive lots of information about you and how influential you actually are by looking at your social network and the communication streams in it.

(* name changed)

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