When I worked in Holland before the Miami Ad School, I always thought that networking would be something both fun and useful for my career. I have to admit that going to all the advertising drinks, award shows and young creative competitions was a lot of fun. But it would have been more useful for my career if I spent more time working. Besides, walking around drunk at every party doesn't give you a reputation of being very serious.
When I worked in Belgium I didn't go to places where creatives are and that hasn't changed now that I'm in Holland. But of course there are a few exceptions. It's nicer to talk to people individually having snappy 'where-are-you-working-nowadays-talks' at a party. Yesterday I had a drink with an art-director called Jan-Willem Smits
. I followed his work since he started his career at DDB and TBWA (which are pretty good agencies in Holland). After that he worked at Ogilvy (a less creative agency), where he got one award and nomination after another. You can fairly say that he's had a pretty turbulent career.
People overestimate working at an agency. All young creatives want to work at the big shot agencies who win the most awards. The problem is that everybody wants to work there. And a great agency is not always the right place for you. The career of Jan-Willem proves that sometimes a step back is actually a huge leap forward.