Monday, June 12, 2006

Unity of Life

Amee follows up her post on life between jobs with another short piece on online personas, specifically, how these can undermine resumes, following a New York Times article. I'm not quite sure if I'm still in the target demographic, but I couldn't agree more.

In a nutshell: recruiters are more and more turning to blogs and social networking sites to perform background checks and prospective employees and interns. Sometimes, what they find out about the applicants are less than edifying. Drug use? Check. Sexual escapades? Check. Violent tendencies? Check. Alright, I think I'll pass on this applicant.

What I find funny about the article is the tone it takes. Yes, the United States is big on privacy, but it puts the moral burden on the recruiters. The implication is that it is somehow wrong on the part of the prospective employers to use the information that applicants posted about themselves on the social networking sites. And that's just plain silly. It is voluntarily provided information, and therefore fair game for search engines.

It's not so much just about the information itself, but the information that they volunteer, i.e., the image that they want to project socially as opposed to professionally. Despite a freewheeling morality, there's still a dichotomy between how young people want to want to be perceived among their peers and among other people. Apparently, you can't have both.

So what's the solution? Establish a totally separate online persona that can't be associated with the real person? It's workable, but only to a certain extent. Ultimately, secrets like this will still leak out, through carelessness or hubris. What's more, anonymity provides the illusion of invincibility, and that leads to recklessness. All the more damaging once the truth is outed.

A better approach, I think, is to have unity of life, and conviction in what one believes in. Rather than establish multiple personas to suit different sectors of society, why not just have one -- the true one -- and stick by it? It can't be faulted for its sheer simplicity, and it's easier to keep things straight. If some people don't like it, then tough. It's a much better prescription than the prevailing schizophrenia.

Which leads me to my own self-examination on this blog. I'd like to think that this blog is a reflection of my personality, or rather, the development of my personality. Therefore, I have nothing to be ashamed of. Sometimes I'm naive. Sometimes I get mad. Sometimes I say the wrong thing (and when I do realize it, I apologize). But in what I do write, I do aim for honesty tempered with prudence. If some people don't like it, tough. These are folks I don't think I want to work for anyway.

So there you have it, folks. My blog. Me. What you see is what you get.


  1. Hi Dom.

    Thanks again for the link.

    In relation to your observation re my post, I think what these recruiters are trying to avoid is rejecting an applicant on the basis of their online persona. The U.S. is rife with lawsuits on discrimination and this is uncharted territory I guess compared to discrimination vs the usual suspects like gender and race.

    But yes, a unity of life and conviction is a good and simple approach.

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Amee. Here's hoping the next iBlog conference becomes a reunion of sorts.