Digital eraser or stand up to embarrassment?
How big is the fear in Germany that potential employers will find delicate information about you on the Internet and will not hire you at all, is shown, for example, by book titles such as “Internet career trap” or the fact that well-known state data protection officials warned against Google Street View in this context. Politicians are already shouting for the digital eraser. They even found their own technical term: reputation management! Language is always very treacherous ...
Wouldn't it make more sense to be self-confident about your own embarrassments on the web? Because, to be honest, many of us will have no other choice: Who of us can already predict with 15, 20 or 30 which tweet tweeted out irrelevant can be his undoing later?
Searched for courageous role models!
Of course that's nice, when everyone else is shaking with fear about career traps and reputation management. But as already said yesterday: You can also turn the tables and decide for yourself what is embarrassing - and what not.
However, this requires positive role models - namely people who not only stand by their own embarrassments, but can also tell and laugh about them afterwards. And they also have success with it - such as Udo Vetter, who brings it to Twitter via 19.000 followers. Vetter, a specialist lawyer for criminal law known through the Law Blog, a profession that is reputed to have serious behavior, was at an event with the beautiful name Twittwoch in Düsseldorf.
The story with the underpants
There he was asked, among other things, what his most embarrassing Twitter experience was. And told a story where I personally got red ears because I would have been so embarrassed:
Vetter wanted to buy underpants and complained about Twitter via the scratchy theft protection. It may be that I as a woman this topic simply a bit more precarious find. But in any case, Cousin passed what was likely to happen to many users: He was not clear who was reading all of them.
What is embarrassing, I determine!
For a few weeks later, during a hearing by one of the assessors at a regional court, he was asked whether it was normal for lawyers to twitter publicly on the web through their underwear. And Cousin was, as he admitted at Twittwoch, but a little embarrassed.
But it turned out that the assessor had sense of humor and was able to laugh about it - presumably because Cousin did not try to negate or mince his embarrassment, but simply stood by it. And tell the story loosely and amusingly today as an anecdote.
Please no hysteria!
Now I don't want to deny that there is a danger that employers will sort out unsuitable applicants based on information. However, I think that shouldn't be the reason for hysteria. This example from the USA shows how quickly this can be done:
There, the State Department warned Columbia University students against making public statements about Wikileaks on the Internet. Reason: A statement on this topic could endanger the career of those who want to join government agencies.
Turn the tables
Comment from a German HR specialist on this text: “It is sad that there are employers who are really in this mood!” That points in the right direction: As a job seeker, you can and should turn the tables if you still don't seem to like it in Germany.
For example, with the question: What does that say about the corporate culture if the employees are spied on in advance? And: I want in one of those Companies really work? Don't I want an employer who gives their employees some confidence? Incidentally, individual companies have already recognized that more and more employees are asking this question - and have committed themselves to only evaluating those application documents that applicants voluntarily provide.
Stand by you!
A recruiter with whom I recently spoke on the subject said that under no circumstances would he not hire an applicant because he found questionable things about him on the Internet. However, it could be that he addresses the applicant in the interview. For example, he would like to know whether the applicant is aware of how this works in public.
Ergo, it is important not to come up with stupid excuses in such a case, but to counter them cleverly, for example when you are confronted with the embarrassment in an interview or with colleagues. Or to stand by yourself. Because what is embarrassing ultimately determines everyone himself!
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German edition: ISBN 9783965964266
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