Thursday, June 17, 2010

I consider having some references on LinkedIn

Readers - regular and otherwise - may well be aware of the work of LinkedIn, a strange place where people you worked with over fifteen years ago "link" to you in the hope of creating a "network" of "professionals".  

If someone wants to “add you to their network”, an email arrives in your inbox with a message along the lines of  "Long time no see! How the devil are you? What news?!". 

Because the message suggests that they do actually know you, you look on their LinkedIn profile and see that you worked at the same company fifteen years ago. From this, you deduce that you must, at some level, 'know' them, even if 'knowing' means once being in the same meeting in 1997.

It is very odd, LinkedIn, and I am still not entirely sure what to do with it.  I approach it with caution, and apply some rules:

  1.  I do not do not “reach out” to people I have never met or worked with
  2. I try not to link to people I think are idiots or bad at their jobs (obv. a couple of preening cockmonkeys have slipped through my non-existent twatfilter, but de-linking them, like de-friending people on Facebook, seems more effort that it's worth)
  3. I do not use it for weird shit like making mildly sinister approaches to people that might be "useful"
  4. I do not cock on about myself endlessly, putting down only where I have worked and what my job was.
"But why do you do it at all?", I hear you cry.  I will tell you why.  It is because, however odd I think LinkedIn is, I know what people do with it and I do not want to be contrary. I also want to satisfy their crazed curiosity. 

Yes. Here is what happens. You have a meeting with someone,  or they hear they may have to work with you. They know nothing about you. Should they take you seriously?  Is it OK to call you “Spanner” to your face?  Should they take a word of what you say seriously? How high is the chance that you know what you’re talking about?  So they rush off and look you up on LinkedIn and look at the list of what you have done and where you have worked, and from that, they place you in their own internal placement system. (If you want to know if they have looked you up LinkedIn will tell you for free: "A Senior Management Official in the Catering Industry in Exeter has viewed your profile in the last 5 days". For money, it will tell you exactly who; I do not spend money on things like that.)

Some people clearly love it because they have RECOMMENDATIONS.  To have a RECOMMENDATION, you have to ask someone to RECOMMEND you.  I am putting the word RECOMMEND in capital letters because although I can definitely see the point of having easily available references from people called Trevor who you worked with in 1986,  I could not, cannot, and will not bring myself to ask someone to RECOMMEND me because I know what they would say.

“NWM is one of the people I have ever worked with. She has a point of view on most things, and is able to do work. If you need someone to do work, you should give her a job.

“NWM is the Prime Minster of talking to people like they are idiots.”

“She is quite amusing to be around so if you “like a laugh”, she’s your gal, although I can’t vouch for the quality of her work.”

“I worked with NWM for over 18 months. Despite her relatively senior position in the company I am not entirely sure what she did other than make cookies. She appeared to be quite good at that.”

“Likes spreadsheets”.

“I heard her say she had a sewing kit. I lost a button. She wasn’t in the office but I didn’t think she’d mind me looking in her top drawer. All I could see were 23 different jars of nail polish, some old biscuits, over 1.23m pens, some dust, a monkey in a fez, a small clay pipe, 2 miniatures of absinthe, 3 boxes of tissues and a Ziploc bag containing some dusty teabags. The rest of it was goo and despair.”


"She has 3 charts she always uses for everything but I can't lie, they usually work. Someone once tried to change one of the circles on the second chart but it all went to shit.  Can't say fairer than that really."

What would you be recommended for? 


Tracy Lynn said...

No one with any sense would recommend me for anything other than sitting around, chatting and perhaps having a beverage. They probably shouldn't even recommend me for that.Although if you are looking for someone to be cunty to douchebags, I'm your girl.

Alison Cross said...

I spent a long time avoiding LinkedIn because, as a Scot, all I could see was something that looked like Link-Edin....and so for a long time thought that it was an Edinburgh-centric social networking site.

Which, to a Glaswegian, is total anathema.

I subsequently did join, but then suffered the ignominy of not being contacted by a single fucker.

Ali x

English at UNM said...

Eh. I think I'm on LinkedIn because I was involved with doing company ident stuff for a start-up and they all got very excited about LinkedIn and sort of shoved us all on. Haven't looked at it since.

HOWEVER. I would be recommended for - ability to meticulously organize paper clips by size, colour and shape; mad skills producing strings of academese on any subject with only a few moments's notice; ability to fix the copier (usually) by following the directions on the screen - an ability, I should add, unique to me among the 120+ people using said copier; amazing sense for the proximity of cockroaches (what with my conviction that they are just waiting for you to be inattentive so they can leap to your throat and gnaw you to death - worse than zombies, cockroaches) AND related to this a remarkably wide and rich vocabulary which can be used while sprinting backwards down halls and around corners without losing breath or smashing into anything (mostly). And that's just this week!

Megan said...

Heh. That's funny - ACKSHUALLY English at UNM was ME. What with it being early in the morning here, and me forgetting I was logged into a possibly-not-personal blog. Talk about outing yourself...

Beleaguered Squirrel said...

But Megan, your *second* post was the one where you outed yourself. You know, the one where you said, "Oh no, I have inadvertently outed myself!" :O)

But I enjoyed the insight into who you REALLY ARE, so I'm happy. [sharpens stalking tool]

Anyway. I would be recommended for... my ability to spend days on end surfing the net and doing no work, but always clicking in an obviously-rather-panicky fashion on something work-related whenever someone walks behind me. Also my ability to type REALLY LOUDLY. And my ability to completely zone out everything around me and carry on with what I'm doing even when people are jumping up and down on my head and shouting, "BELEAGUERED SQUIRREL, YOUR HAIR IS ON FIRE!" And my ability to keep a lot of fruit on my desk, and eat it. And my ability to drink weird tea that really confuses whoever's turn it is to make a brew. And my ability to keep bog rolls on my desk for when tissues are needed, because bogroll does the same thing and is far cheaper than stupid boxes of tissues (for fuck's sake). And my ability to look really impressive at interview and then turn out to be rather lazy and do anything to avoid working any more than the hours I'm paid for. And my refusal to be embarrassed by anything, and my insistence on talking about embarrassing stuff in a really loud voice, and my ability to talk an awful lot, very fast, about nothing in particular, and my ability to doodle complicated patterns on notepads in boring meetings, and my ability to end meetings in ten seconds flat if I am in charge (because all meetings are HELL and anyone who says different is weird), and... oh, that'll do for now.


And your ability to write very long comments. For god's sake don't leave that out.

Ms Baroque said...

One of the best moments I've had recently was when the Head of Marketing at my last job wrote a complete out-of-the-blue recommendation for me, saying I knew everything about writing, added loads to the team and was a complete joy to work with!

I could have wept.

THAT is what LinkedIn SHOULD be like.


Now Ms B I must confess that you inspired me to write this from that v. funny comment you wrote on FB the other day ...but I LOVE the fact you got a recommendation out of the blue!! This means I will have to re-write this post BECAUSE I THOUGHT YOU HAD TO ASK FOR IT.

I am humbled.

Mr Farty said...

Alison - The reason you haven't been contacted is that LinkEdin is indeed an Edinburgh-centric social networking site. All that work-related stuff is just a front. The noo.

I would be recommended for spending all day on the internets looking at funny pictures of cats.


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