Maybe I am a little naive. Perhaps I have just been really fortunate in my experience. Somehow, though, I have a strong sense that the academic community is much more welcoming than the corporate world. Most of the people I have talked to are at least helpful, and very often quite warm, open, and informative. If they have been brief, it has usually been because I caught them as they were headed somewhere. Still, what a great feeling, to get the sense that research professors will welcome new people into their community so freely.
As I said, perhaps I am being naive. I know politics plays a role in any interaction - after all, these people might actually have to work with me somewhere along the line and would hate to be rude - but I do not get the feeling that the people I've talked to are maneuvering. Instead they seem more like someone who just got asked about his personal collection. By showing interest in a subject they care about, I have opened the door for them to share their experience and knowledge - something they clearly love to do. After all, these individuals each got into research because of their own innate curiosity and passion for learning. Of course they look forward for the chance to share with someone else who shares their passion.
At least, that's what I keep telling myself.