Category Archives: My Life

The Trouble with Checking out Potential Employees on the Internet

I made the mistake again of Googling my true name.  AUGH…the Internet presence of my name clones is growing and most of them are up to no good in terms of job seeking.  I’m VERY frustrated because how is an employer to know which person I am and are potential employers stupid enough to believe that names are unique.  I’ve written about this topic before, but now that it could affect my ability to keep my roof above my head, I feel a certain sense of urgency on the matter.  I do love the Internet, but how some people use it is questionable.

Giving what I’ve seen from Googling myself, I see that the Internet is, indeed, a sewage filled wasteland.  There’s are some people who are up to things that may be objectionable to employers all sharing my name and all very active on the Internet.  What’s a dull engineer like me to do to reclaim my identity and assert my dull, non-controversial self as a safe hire?  Do I put on my resume that I’m the “dull engineer” with patents and not these other folks?  How many job opportunities have passed me by because a potential employer Googled my name and found other people with the same name and then decided that I was unemployable based on prejudice and bias towards my name clones?

It is my belief that the Internet is not a reliable source of information about the personality or activities of a person.  Googling a name is pointless because there are many people on this Earth with the same name.  If a person explicitly gives you Internet URLs to check out, then I think it’s safe to say that is their Internet presence, or at least the Internet presence they want to feature as a potential employee.  I know I could shout this to the wind and get laws passed outlawing Google as a tool for hiring and, regardless, people are still going to be curious and do an Internet search.  However, keep in mind, that you REALLY have no idea what you’ve found and that you may be missing an opportunity to hire a great employee by “interviewing” the Internet, rather than the actual person who applied.

Welcome, 2010…

According to the movie, this is the year we should be orbiting Jupiter and checking out what’s the deal with Io.  It seems that we are about as far from that as we can be.  We’re navel gazing as we try to figure out where the money and jobs went and worrying about nebulous threats from people we don’t understand.   UGH, I wonder if we, collectively, can get any more pathetic and depressed.  I can’t say that my state of mind matches the collective depression.  I still maintain there’s too much that needs to be done and this level of unemployment and collective “meh” is completely unnecessary.  We also need to try a new strategy when dealing with the folks that don’t like us (showing fear, dropping bombs, reacting in a knee-jerk fashion, infringing upon civil liberties, and randomly fondling people at the airport aren’t working well).   I wonder will 2010 be the year some brave leader steps forwards and says, “SNAP OUT OF IT!!! Let’s hire some people to solve some of these tough problems!

Here are some things that have me excited that I would love to work on:

  • Perfecting e-readers and tablet computers — technology, UI, UX, and media distribution
  • The future of the newspaper — let’s really put the power of the Internet to work!
  • Dreaming up “bone headed” ways we can save our environment
  • Dreaming up fabulously cool ways we can save out environment — some of the wild ideas about creating synthetic plants to process CO2 and light into energy and water sound cool!
  • 3D that doesn’t make my head hurt!!!
  • Infrastructure —  both physical and Internet!!!
  • Figuring out EFFECTIVE ways to deal with our enemies (we could start by not making more of them…as well as change US management culture, use the full power of the Internet, cultural diplomacy, cultural transfer (AKA some clever and innocuous propaganda — Movies, music, and books are powerful things…and when combined with the Internet, spreading culture couldn’t be easier … our enemies are doing it, so what’s stopping us from a countering.)

Anyhow, if you are a person with some influence, be a brave leader and kick things off.  Come on, don’t you want to be the beacon that leads us out of this foggy funk?  I know you do :).  You’ll go down in history as our savior.  Hahaha!!!  Putting it that way, it sounds drop-dead easy for a company with deep pockets to jump and hire 5000 people for something dreamy.  I like a recent seed from Rahul Sood:  “Want to find technology to help create a fully renewable green server farm, runs off the sun, and re-cycles the heat into power. Ideas?”  (http://twitter.com/rahulsood)

Now, everyone, find a groove to dance to and shake it!   Hellz Yeah! 2010!!!  And if that doesn’t make you happy, then you are truly hopeless ;p

Standing Around the Accident – Meltdowns in Blogs and Twitter

Living life on the Internet continues to interest me.  One of the things I’ve seen recently are people, mostly young women, complaining about having web stalkers or people who flame them in Internet after they write or tweet soul bearing confessionals.   This reinforces my belief that people who bare their souls on the Internet will eventually get hurt emotionally.

In general, I don’t like to read to these types of blogs for the same reason I turn my head when I spot an accident on the side of the road.  I don’t want to see the gore.  However, I don’t think that’s how most people are.  There are people who love to stare at accidents and then comment on it as if they know what happened and where to place the blame.

One thing I can say is, unless the person is a professional blogger, blogging in public, in general, doesn’t help a person’s career.  Ranting backfires.  Readers may enjoy reading the author’s meltdown, but in the end, whether the reader agrees with the rant or not, I don’t think much respect is gained by the ranter.  Furthermore, some conservative readers may even think someone who rants is mentally unstable.   This I’ve learned first hand and, due to that tough lesson, I now keep my blog rants private.

I’ve questioned now that I’m in the middle of a job search whether I should continue to blog and whether I should make a potential employer aware of my Internet activities.  In general, I think employers view blogs and participation in social networks as a risk.  I only advertise my web presence when I think it’s an asset for the job.  But when I apply for a job that doesn’t involve the Internet or when applying to “conservative” companies, I remove of all of my web activities, with the exception of an e-mail address from my resume.

So here are some blogging rules I abide by in order keep my nose relatively clean (nothing I list will be original):

  • Never blog about anything negative in your personal life.  Yeah, yeah, you want to blog about your health problems — but before you do that, ask yourself whether this would give your employer or potential employer a reason to get rid of you or not hire you at all.  Also, there are large factions of people who believe that expressions of negativity are taboo, evil, and denotes a person who is depressed or crazy.
  • Never blog or tweet about your drug, drinking, sexual, and taboo lifestyle activities — and please don’t post pictures of your escapades
  • Never blog about religion or politics
  • Never write about non-celebrities or non-public people by their name
  • Never blog about your workplace, co-workers, or anything having to do with your job.
  • If there is an internal blog or social network in your company,  DO NOT use them unless you have to and limit it strictly to work related matters.  Don’t express any personal opinions about the company, management, projects, or anything.  Remove all emotion other than positivity and  keep to the facts — in other words, use the tools to encourage and inform.  NOTHING will get you fired or laid-off sooner than posting something to the public that pisses off a manager or executive, regardless of whether you post internal or external to the company.
  • Keep your rants private
  • Keep your self righteousness to yourself (still working on that myself)
  • Don’t follow or allow yourself to be followed by people who violate any of rules above.  Following and be followed is tacit consent, so don’t consort with anyone you wouldn’t want your employer to know about.  (If you want to follow a “train wreck,” pull RSS feed into a reader or your e-mail program.)
  • Use an alias

The Internet is one big landmine.  Hopefully, things will improve as more web savvy people move into leadership positions.  Until then, though, my suggestion is to put a lid on it and keep your negative emotions and life’s details private.

Said Right about the Ecomony’s Effects on Citizens

“For every person out of work, for every family facing foreclosure, for every small business facing a credit crunch, the recession remains alive and acute,”

— Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

I’m still on that sad boat with no end to my unemployment journey in sight.  To be honest, I think nothing of the 3.5% GDP growth last quarter and I’m waiting to hear the revised figure that will come out in a few weeks, as well as a figure that doesn’t take into account programs like cash for clunkers.  I guess I don’t think something can “grow” by eating itself, seeing as how there’s that messy thing called “entropy.”  Anyhow, even if it’s only words, I do admire the sensitivity Secretary Geithner has expressed.

Saturn/Penske Deal Fell Through

I felt a little dagger go through my heart as I read the headline.  My second car was a Saturn.  I got it at the end of my first senior year in college.  It was a little gold SL1 that I named “spud” because it looked like a potato on wheels.  I always loved the Saturn concept and felt had wiser and smarter heads prevailed, the Saturn brand could have been the car equivalent of Apple.  But alas, GM is GM, and I don’t have anything nice to say about the company.  He’re a link to a story about Saturn’s demise:

link

I seriously feel like I’m going to cry because in my heart I know this may be the end of automotive innovation within the US.  Of all the parts of GM I wanted to survive, Saturn was the only one I was really pulling for.