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Only if you think the merit of being able to form social connections and work with people is orthogonal to the skills being hired for. I'm not sure it should count for as much as it sometimes does, but how we measure "merit" and how it translates into outputs is a complicated process and I'm fairly sure it shouldn't count for nothing.

Although the networking stuff is arguably the most circular of all of the criteria for hiring someone then.

"Why should we let you join our group?"

"Because I'm part of your group."


Also, frequently these issues become very Rashomon-like. Why did Bob not get along with anyone at site X? Is it because of Bob, or X, or because they were a poor fit for each other?

What's infuriating (or depressing) about this stuff from my perspective is that there's an implicit assumption always that the person complaining about not building networks has not built the networks because of poor social skills, rather than problems with the networks themselves.

I'm not naive about social connections, but in my experience the social skills stuff is vastly overrated. Serious problems get ignored when it's a friend, and molehills are made into mountains when it's not. It tends to devolve into petty gossip and junior high infighting.

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