Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Political Rants and Job Seeking

It has been really interesting (and also painful) to watch the growing tendency of people to blindly accept as truth the outrageous assertions that are made by various TV personalities. Even more troubling is the acceptance of their behavior as normative.

Let's consider how this plays out when it comes to your job search.

Just for the sake of not stepping on any toes, let's assume that the following political parties have been resurrected recently in your city, and are represented by the proportions below:

Bull Moose Party 40%
Natural Law Social Democratic Party 35%
Gibublican Party 25%

For whatever reason, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents have all fallen into disfavor in your county.

You are a diehard Gibublican and believe adamantly that all Natural Law Social Democrats are in fact Marxists in disguise, and all Bull Moosians are fascists. No arguments to the contrary will convince you otherwise. Let's even assume that you are absolutely correct. Unfortunately, because of contact with a parallel universe, everything in the world has remained the same, with the exception of those facts. ... You have been very energetic in trying to get the word out to people. You have posted about in on LinkedIn, and you regularly post links on your Facebook page commenting about what simpletons our leaders are and how only the Gibublicans have any sense at all.

Now, assume that you are unemployed. You have seen a position posted online that would be PERFECT for you. You apply online and are brought in for an interview. The interview goes well. You go home, certain that you will get the job. Unfortunately, you're not aware that the hiring manager is a Bull Moosian and the department director is a Bull Moose Social Democrat.

Sadly, you don't get the job, and you are left wondering why, thinking perhaps it might be your age, or that you were overqualified and they took someone less qualified, for a lower salary.

What happened? As you might guess, both got online at home and looked you up. Each decided for different reasons that you weren't a good fit. One saw your rants about people who disagreed with you and wondered how you might respond in a work environment when confronted with people who didn't agree with you. The other, decided that you were simply a moron who might say something which could reflect poorly on the company, and opted not to take a chance. Technically, neither made a decision based on your political ideology, and you would be hard-pressed to prove it even if they had.

Note, I'm not saying that people shouldn't have strong opinions or be active in their respective parties. I am saying that how you conduct yourself, especially online, is very important.

Here in the United States, our population is fairly evenly spit with roughly even numbers of Democrats and Republicans and growing numbers of independents, who believe that both parties have lost their marbles. In the real working world, you not only have to learn to get along with members of other groups, you have to treat them with respect, as if their political affiliation doesn't matter. ... Because when it comes to the job that you have to do - it DOESN'T matter.

If you're spending a good deal of your time online bashing a particular group or a particular elected official, then the odds are pretty likely that anyone with a browser is going to be able to find some of your comments, even if they look 5, 10, or 20 years from now. If you make inflammatory statements about members of another group which can only be substantiated by some talking head on TV, but not by any real facts, a hiring manager who's a member of that group might at some point in the future read them and take umbrage.

Bottom line: If you don't like someone's views, at least be civil in the way you communicate. Better yet, get away from your PC. Get out in the world and do something useful. Go mentor some kids that need help in school. Find someone who's more down-and-out than you are and offer a helping hand. You'll accomplish far more doing those things than you will yakking away on Facebook, and you won't be sabotaging your own future.