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Friday, February 24, 2006

Job Blogging: Is it safe?

Random thought as I was drinking my morning coffee ... I wonder why practitioners in the fields of education and sales and marketing don't cross over to share strategies and techniques more often? What triggered this little "wondering" was a new television commercial that caught my eye last night that used a mneumonic or play on words. That got me thinking about this wonderful graduate course that I took a few years ago in cognitive and motivational strategies for teaching and learning - and it occurred to me that the above mentioned fields have a lot in common - at least they share a primary goal - wanting people to remember - and to act (apply knowledge).

Well on to the subject at hand - Job Blogging and Safety.

The internet although widely used is still relatively uncharted territory for employees and employers. Exploring the unknown does carry some risk and this understandably makes people nervous.

For example. I am not and never have been a prospective employer so I am just imagining the following scenario:

Suppose you are an employer interviewing a prospective employee who tells you they are a blogger. Does this information make you worry about issues such as discretion and confidentiality and liability, not to mention "too much information" - ie) inadvertantly showing your hand to competitors or letting trade secrets slip out onto the internet? You may ask yourself, will this prospective employee be discreet and use good judgement? Is it even worth the risk?

These are real concerns. I remember a couple of years ago when I was working retail at our local mall. Our employer, a major retailer, told us to watch our conversations when we walked through the mall - particularly they didn't want other competitors to know too far ahead about upcoming promotions and sales. Now, carry that concern over to the internet and you can begin to see the problem ...

Moving on to the other perspective, that of the interviewee, say me, for instance, who in turn may be thinking ...

They asked me to bring a sample of my writing/web work. Should I even tell them about my blog? Will they trust me or will that make them nervous? I did write about cutting back on the job search while my husband recovered from open heart surgery - will they look elsewhere because I sound like I'm too old and too much of an insurance risk?

These worries are not so far-fetched - or are they? Faced with the unknown, one can't help but wonder...

But let's move to the other side of the balance sheet and consider some of the benefits of job-blogging.

It does allow you the blogger to offer another opportunity for prospective employers to get to know you under more candid circumstances than the formal interview. Certainly it gives employers a chance to observe you over a greater period of time. Also, a job blog can offer another source of information to employers to balance out the background checks and references and recommendations from previous employers. It certainly gives you an opportunity to answer and be heard. To have a voice.

Finally, because of the social nature of blogging and other online communication tools, you can offer employers the opportunity to see you at your best and at your worst when it comes to dealing with other people. Now what prospective employer wouldn't love to see that? :)

To employers I would say that because the internet is uncharted territory, we need people who are willing to get out there and explore and break new ground. So perhaps it's worth the risk? To those worried about trust issues, I would say that inherent in democracy is the belief that people are able to self-regulate and indeed function best that way. However, this also suggests that education, accountability, responsibility, and ethics should play a major role in a free society.

So ... to job blog or not to job blog?

Well, I'm not done with this topic but I am done with this post (for now at least). Can any of you think of additional risks and benefits of job blogging? I'd love to hear your perspective. In the meantime, happy Job-Hunting. It's a jungle out there! :)



Rich said...

One of the bloggers I regularly stop at lost a pretty good job offer because he blogged about guns. Evidently, to HR and the lawyers, that was a no-no.

Another was fired because Muslim clerics in the Middle East had issued a Fatwa against him. He had burned a Koran out in the desert. It was in response to Saudi Arabia's banning the importation of bibles, even for personal use. Evidently the Saudi's destroy the bible on the spot and kick the owner out of the country.

There are a lot of minefields out here, so keep on top of this. On the other hand, you get to meet a lot of fascinating characters like me. But you already knew that.


ps, add a spell checker if you can.

Junebug said...

LOL, good to see you Rich, thanks for dropping by! :) I'll see if the blogger offers spell-checking. If it doesn't I guess I could run my posts through Word. Sigh. And I used to be such a good speller ... :(

Re your guns aficionado: while guns aren't my cup of tea, I know many folks who are honest hobbyists, hunters, and collectors. I imagine they appreciate their freedom to blog about their hobby with impunity as much as I do mine.

Perhaps we should all lead in safe-guarding our freedom by educating the masses on issues such as accountability and safety and responsibility whether in guns or photography.

Or using spell-checkers before posting. ;)

Thanks for your insights, Rich. It is a minefield out there. As the need or whim arises, I plan to use this blog to record my job-hunting journey, interview experiences, reflections, questions - as one blogger wrote - I wish I had her url - to keep me sane and help me process. Hope I won't regret it. At any rate, I hope to keep the pace easy-going and slow ... :)

See you online,

Junebug aka Jeanne

What Kind of Soul am I?

You Are a Dreaming Soul
Your vivid emotions and imagination takes you away from this world
So much so that you tend to live in your head most of the time
You have great dreams and ambitions that could be the envy of all...
But for you, following through with your dreams is a bit difficult

You are charming, endearing, and people tend to love you.
Forgiving and tolerant, you see the world through rose colored glasses.
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