One reason people hate to network is that it feels like a lot of talking and very little doing. A thousand LinkedIn contacts are great, but if you are unemployed, or want to break into a new field, what you really need is practical on-the-job experience. That's why more and more mid-career professionals are seeking out unpaid internships [source: Tahmincioglu].
Let's say you worked 10 years as a life insurance salesperson, but really want to break into professional catering. In the food industry, no one is going to hire you without some experience. But what if you offer yourself as an unpaid, part-time intern? The employer doesn't lose anything in the bargain, and you learn how to prepare shrimp appetizers for a party of 500 [source: Johnson].
It's wise to set a cap on the hours and total duration of your internship. And if you feel like the employer is taking advantage of your generosity, feel free to cut it short. Ideally, by working hard for free, you can put yourself in a great position for the next job opening. At the very least, you've filled a gap in your resume and made a slew of new contacts, all without an ounce of "networking."