So I apparently have to apologize to my dad. Well, HALF-apologize. Let’s not get crazy. I don’t just hand out apologies like saltwater taffy around here.
We had a conversation the other night and I was all, NO NO NO and he was all YES YES YES and, well, he was half-right. Dammit. In my defense, it was just cuckoo-bananas enough that anyone would have had the same reaction as I did.
Dad: Well, I hope you’re happy. Did you hear what your government is doing now?
(SIDE NOTE: the current government is mine. I OWN IT. Because I’m a dirty hippie liberal.)
Me: Hard to say. What’s the latest?
Dad: You are required to give your Facebook password to potential employers in order to get a job.
Me: WHAT? That can’t possibly be true.
Dad: IT IS TRUE. It was on the news.
Me: On the news? Or on Fox News?
Dad: I…LISTEN. You go into a job interview nowadays, they say, “You give me your Facebook password right now.” If you say no, they make you leave.
Me: MAKE you leave? What, like give you the bum’s rush? That can’t possibly be a thing. That’s like asking for your bank password. Or your email password.
Dad: It’s a tough economy. People have to give that information or they don’t get hired.
Me: Do you mean they’re asking for your Facebook USERNAME? Like, they want to see what you’re posting? I can see that, I guess. People post all kinds of nonsense and then don’t think to lock that down when they start a job search.
Dad: NO. Your PASSWORD. So they can see EVERYTHING.
Me: I can’t believe this is true. I’m going to research this.
Dad: Well, when you find out I’m telling you the truth, you’re going to call me up and say, “Dad, I am so sorry I called you a liar and broke your heart, as you are the person who fed and clothed me for eighteen years and you really deserve better than being called a liar by your only beloved daughter.”
Me: Yeah. Don’t hold your breath for THAT call, bub.
So I went online the minute we got off the phone and I found THIS. So at first I was all SHIT I’m totally going to have to make that call, I hate when he’s right about something. But then I read it and realized I’d only have to make HALF an apology. Because YES, it is happening. But Dad totally made it sound like it’s America’s new national policy. And also there are security guards to escort you off the premises if you don’t comply.
So apparently, 95% of employers search for you online before hiring you. Fine. I can see that. That’s understandable. I know a lot of people searching for jobs. They lock down their Twitter accounts, they make their blogs private, they make their Facebook accounts only accessible to friends. I mean, the internet has a long memory, so most likely the potential employer will find SOMETHING objectionable about you. I mean, I did a search for my blog the other day and you should have SEEN the pictures that popped up. I really choose some random photos for my posts, I can’t even describe. I mean, I laughed. A potential employer might not.
But ALSO apparently, some employers are getting all knicker-twisty when your Facebook profile is set to private, so they’ve been ASKING POTENTIAL HIREES FOR THEIR USERNAMES AND PASSWORDS. What the holy HELL?
I can tell you right now, I would laugh like a moron if someone asked me for a password at a job interview. I’d think I was being punk’d. I would look around for the hidden cameras.
Here, I’ll write you a little story. We like little stories, right?
JOB INTERVIEW STORY STARRING YOUR FAVORITE UNRULY-HAIRED BLOGGER
HR Rep: Well, that about concludes our interview. Just a few more questions, and I think we’re all set.
HR Rep: Do you have proficiency in word processing software?
Me: I most certainly do. I think I tested 60 words per minute last time I took a typing test, and I’ve used pretty much every word processing software there is. If I haven’t used it, I can pick it up quickly enough.
HR Rep: Wonderful. And you have reception desk training?
Me: Yes, I’ve worked the reception desk at my past few jobs. I’ve gotten excellent feedback for my ability to handle a multi-line phone system.
HR Rep: Great. And here’s a pad and paper, please write down your Facebook username and password?
HR Rep: Oh, you probably also need a pen. Here you go.
Me: I’m sorry. I think I must have mis-heard you. My Facebook PASSWORD?
HR Rep: Yes. Standard procedure.
Me: It’s standard procedure to ask for my password to a personal site? Where I keep personal information? About my family and friends?
HR Rep: Yes. We did a search, and you’ve set your Facebook profile to private. It’s only available to people you’re friends with.
HR Rep: So, in order to read it, we’re going to need that username and password. So just jot those down right there.
Me: I’m being punk’d. Right? Is Kutcher even still doing that shit? I thought he was too busy being Douchebag Jesus on Tiger Blood’s old sitcom.
HR Rep: I don’t…what?
Me: Where are the cameras? Is there one in this phone? Or in your coffee cup? I hate hidden camera shows. They always make the person they’re filming look like such an asshole. Remember the one where they made Justin Timberlake cry like a sad toddler who dropped his ice cream cone because they pretended to be the IRS taking all his guitars and he called his mom all, “MOM THEY ARE TAKING MY STUUUFFFFF???” I WILL NOT SIGN A WAIVER. YOU ARE WASTING YOUR TIME.
HR Rep: I assure you, this is not a “punk’ing.” This is what we do now. To research candidates.
Me: To research candidates, you look at something they’ve set to private so no one can see it but the people they WANT to see it, and you don’t see that as a gross invasion of privacy at all.
HR Rep: Well! There is no need to take THAT tone.
Me: Yeah. I’m going to go now.
I know. I KNOW. It’s a tough economy. But I don’t want to work for a company that thinks it’s ok to ask such a question IN A JOB INTERVIEW. That’s an invasion of privacy. It’s why I set my profile to private. I didn’t set my profile to private FOR the job interview. I mean, not that THEY know that. But it’s been private since I joined. Because I keep my FAMILY there. No one needs to know my family. That’s no one’s business. I’d fight a horde of rabid raccoons with my bare hands for my family, I’m not dealing with internet predators, too. My Twitter’s public, go stalk that. Hell, use a little Google-fu and find my damn blog. Want to know all about me? HERE I AM NAKED, BABY.* (*no actual nakedness will occur, Ding Dong Joe.)
Ironically, I barely write anything on Facebook. I’m not even all that active there. Because I don’t like or trust it that much, and also, ironically enough, the people I know in real life don’t seem to give a shit what I say or do, and the people on Twitter seem to actually care. Which either says a lot about me, or about them. I’m going to assume them, because otherwise I look like an asshole, and no one likes that, now do they? I like Twitter better. I like some things about Facebook. Nephew photos. Notification of upcoming productions in the area. Advertising for my theater. Things of that nature. It’s a good tool, mostly for networking. But have I met FRIENDS on Facebook? Nope. Because a., I already know the people I’m friending, and b., I keep that shit locked DOWN. It is none of anyone’s BUSINESS. THERE ARE PHOTOS OF THE NEPHEW ON THERE. On Twitter, though? Have I met friends there? Yes. Has it enriched my life more than almost anything I currently am involved with? Yes. Do I love it more than most things (but obviously not pudding or Dumbcat?) Yes.
Here’s the scoop, as I see it. WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON’T CARE. I’m telling you anyway. That’s how I roll, jellybeans.
According to that article up there, there are bills being considered in some states that would ban employers from discriminating against employees who refuse access to their social media. And some of these people who’ve been asked are pursuing legal action against the potential employers. Well, that’s all well and good, isn’t it?
But how are you going to prove that’s WHY they didn’t hire you? I mean, maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. Probably you refusing the request tipped the scales. Probably it did, let’s be frank. But they can just say, “A better candidate came along!” and it’s such an employer’s market right now, the person they hired is probably comparable to, or better, than you, anyway. It’s a he-said-she-said situation.
Also, do you WANT to work for a company that’s this up in your business? Really? I’d want to stay far away from something like this. You just know they have keystroke tracking software, and they block social networking sites, and when they have the company picnic it’s totally not an open bar so you can only have one or two drinks before that shit starts to get pricey.
Listen, here’s the bottom line, whether or not your potential employer is ganking your Facebook password or not. (SIDE NOTE: Don’t give it to them. Seriously? Don’t. Don’t encourage that kind of behavior. No job is worth that. That is your private information. You don’t have to give it to them. There are other jobs that won’t ask. Interview for one of those. I’m utterly furious that any job thinks this is an acceptable thing to ask a potential employee. They are playing on our fear of unemployment and the job market being down and this shit has got to STOP.)
The internet lives forever. Therefore:
DO NOT WRITE ANYTHING ON THE INTERNET YOU’RE NOT WILLING TO OWN.
This means: no emo updates. No bullying. No tearing down your employer for making you work late without being a little jokey about it even though really you’d like to set their shiny new BMW on fire with lighter fluid. No overtly douchecanoe political shit. No flame wars. No trolling.
Think about what you write. If someone were to confront you with it: would you be embarrassed? Could you explain why you wrote it? Was it a joke? Watch your tone, because we’re TYPING, not TALKING FACE TO FACE. There is no CONTEXT. We have no FACIAL CUES to work from. Sarcasm doesn’t always come off well with type, unless you know the person well. Like, my friends? They know that anything I send them is to be read with a sarcastic mental voice. That’s why I love them and would share my Lunchables with them any time they asked. ANY DAMN TIME.
Listen, I screw around on here. A lot. But I also own that. I’m not embarrassed by it. I’m not embarrassed by my Twitter feed or my Facebook or any of my social media. Because I POLICE THE HELL out of them. I’m cautious and I work at it. YOU CAN BE, TOO. It’s not hard. Think about the person in your life you least want to embarrass. Is it a friend? A parent? A child? Now think of them when you’re writing something on the internet. Would they be embarrassed by what you just wrote? I mean, a little, maybe, sure, like, if you’re thinking of your MeeMaw back in Kansas who doesn’t approve of you talking to men, or something, that’s one thing. I mean, would what you’re doing make them say, “Not MY Jimmy/Alice/Jenny/Frisco Pete! He/She would NEVER write something like that!” Yes? Then you know as well as I do it’s a bad idea to w type it somewhere everyone can see it. EFFING ERASE IT AND TRY AGAIN. Don’t cry foul when someone sees it and that shit gets spread around six ways to Sunday. It’s your own damn fault, Nimble Fingers McCracken.
This got ranty. Listen. Don’t give potential employers a reason not to hire you. Just stop being asshats online. It is not a difficult thing to do. And, if you DO have an interview, and the interviewer is all, “Listen, I see that you write this blog, and…um…what’s a douchecanoe?” Own it, you know? What the hell else are you going to do at that point? “A DOUCHECANOE, good sir, is an awesome internet term. As you can see, my ability to dominate social media would be quite the asset to your firm.” BAM. KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE PARK.
I have all the faith that you can do this. Well, MOST of you. Ding Dong Joe and Pervy Pete are total lost causes. They’re never getting hired again. It’s a good thing they run their own business. (It’s a strip mall out by the sewage treatment plant. The stores include a paint-and-bedazzle-your-own sweatshirt shop, a kiosk that sells off-name-brand perfume, and a Chick-fil-A.)
Anyway, I have to go apologize to Dad now and tell him that he is the smartest dad in all the land except probably it’s not an American requirement that people give this information and there are no security guards who strong-arm you if you don’t. Oh, he’s going to LOVE that he was right about something. SO SO MUCH.