You just don't know where you'll meet people who might be able to support your career goals, as the following story relayed to me by an MBA student illustrates.
This student found himself at what he described as a “dive bar” with another student, and the two met up with a regular there who was very apparently feeling the effects of his consumption of alcoholic beverages. My student does not drink and typically doesn't frequent bars, so he figured he’d make small talk with this individual just long enough to be polite before he made a quick exit. His patience appears to have paid off, as he soon learned that this bar patron owned an environmental consulting firm. After further conversation, he requested my student’s resume and cover letter to be considered for a possible summer internship. In short, my student was presented with an opportunity in an unfamiliar context because he overcame his discomfort and took a risk.
Another lesson I derive from this story is equally critical: be nice to everyone, wherever you are. You never know whom you’ll meet and how such connections might serve your career and professional interests—not to mention your personal ones.