It seems like the busier you get, the more coffee invites you receive. Maybe it's an indicator of success, but as you climb up the ladder, you'll find the coffee invites piling up.
A bit disgruntled, you might wonder where all these people were when you were unemployed and looking for a job, but another part of you might feel flattered. You'll also feel a little bit of reluctance to hand off a piece of your precious time to a stranger who probably wants something from you. So how do you fend off this deluge of people who would like to "grab coffee sometime?" Here are a few ways to go about it:
- Another medium: Let the person know that you appreciate their offer, but you are really busy at the moment, and would love to first address what they want to talk about via email. You can also opt for IM-ing online or getting on a call with them. I find that emails are the best medium for me because I work on them whenever I have the time and piece together emails gradually.
- Hand it off: Maybe the person isn't specifically interested in you as much as a person of your experience. If you have a colleague or a friend who enjoys these coffee meet-and-greets and likes imparting knowledge, you could ask them if they'd like to go in your place.
- All together now: Have several people requesting a coffee date? Kill many birds with one stone by bringing them all together for a coffee open house.
- Come on by to an event: If there's an event you're going to where you wouldn't mind the company, invite the contact to come along. A networking event would be ideal, because everyone there would be there for the same reasons as well and maybe the person would find others to talk to, too.
Remember, do unto others as you would have them do to you. It can be hard to practice with your busy schedule, but do your best to try to respond politely to coffee invites, because I'm sure you'd like it if others do the same to you.