(Written as a guest blog for yaffetidbits.com)
You’ve seen it before.
You’re a little bored, you log into Facebook and your social networking buzz is quickly killed by the inevitable bad news update. Some examples:
Molly Jenkinson is hoping her hubby has better luck this week on the job hunt. Can’t take much more of him being home.
John Quimby is hello Monday. You sure look a lot like Saturday and Sunday.
Paul Hatfield is sad.
I’ve changed the names to protect the pathetic, but these are real posts I’ve seen along with countless other layoff laden updates that practically beg you for a condolence, or even to pry for more information.
That may be what’s on their mind, as Facebook so politely asks its users with every log in. But that query should be treated like someone asking how you’re doing. They don’t really want to know how you’re doing. It’s a courtesy. And the courteous response should be, “fine thanks,” or in the case of a Facebook status update, some witty variation thereof (I can even live with the non-witty updates, which are aplenty – those people just don’t know any better).
I understand that what I am witnessing is a sign of the times. In real time. I can even imagine these downtrodden folks thinking, “hey, I have a lot of friends in here. Maybe one of them can get me a job.” But nothing is less attractive than desperation. And nothing sounds more desperate to a potential employer, or several hundred of the people you’ve come to know throughout your life, than bemoaning your out-of-work status on Facebook.
As someone who recently lost their job, if only temporarily, I can tell you that the last thing I wanted all 356 of my “friends” to know is that I was laid off. Most of those people don’t even know what I do. It would be like putting on 60 pounds before my high school reunion and telling everyone I still live in my parents’ basement. "So, ah, if you want to come over and hang out later…"
Facebook is where I go to look up old girlfriends (or more accurately, girls I wished were girlfriends but they just wanted to be “friends”). It’s where I go to relive bad college haircuts, which may be why I could never get those girls. And occasionally, it’s where I go to see the odd status update from someone who never struck me as all that odd.
Facebook is also a great resource. And it should be used to your advantage when times are tough. But be tactical about it. Find the folks in your network who are in a similar field. Find out what they’re up to, who they know or what they can suggest. Better yet, sign up for LinkedIn where everyone’s looking for a new job.
And for the love of all that’s sacred, most especially your own personal dignity, please don’t tell me your troubles if we haven’t spoken in 15 years. I just don’t want to know.