The Graceful Boon

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IS SOCIAL MEDIA THE REAL CAUSE FOR SOMEONE TO LOSE OUT ON PROFESSIONAL OPPORTUNITIES?


In my previous post, I mentioned the reunion show of ‘Selling Sunset’ was educational. And I wasn’t exaggerating at all. There was a whole segment dedicated to it being educational. So I wanted to talk about it here, because even though something like this should come as common sense to an average human being, I know that a lot of people still won’t understand the real severity of it and the damage it can cause to another person, as well as to their loved ones. In this case, I’m talking about the use of social media.

If you watched seasons 6 and 7 of ‘Selling Sunset’, you know that Chrishell and Nicole don’t get along. That’s just a nice way of putting it. There were exchange of words that had gone too far. Chrishell, on her part, apologized to Nicole face to face, whereas Nicole put on her ‘mean bitch face’ on and said absolutely nothing. As it was revealed in the reunion show, the conflict didn’t stop there. Chrishell went as far as telling the host, Tan France of ‘Queer Eye’, that she hated Nicole, but was willing to have a cordial and civil working relationship with her for the sake of the team and the company’s success.

But that wasn’t even the icing on the cake when it comes to the reunion show. It was when France reminded us all of Nicole’s social media activity that had to do with Chrishell that really stirred up the drama. France didn’t hesitate to ask Nicole about her response to a fan’s comment on her Instagram which read, “I was hoping the lesbian chick was off in Australia this season and not on our screen. Whatever her name is, I forgot. Nicole, you look great!.” Nicole, on her part, responded with a ‘Thank you.’

Nicole attempted to defend herself by saying that she didn’t think it was homophobic to call someone ‘a gay man’ or a ‘lesbian woman’, to which her co-worker and co-star, Chelsea, responded, ”When somebody identifies Chrishell through her sexuality in a derogatory way and then you comment back to it, you’re basically cosigning that message.” But Chrishell herself said it best to Nicole when she said she didn’t hate anyone. She said, “If you’re gonna literally go to homophobic people and cheer them on because they hate me for that reason, that is hate, Nicole.”

And so, I wanted to analyze this further. Firstly, let’s just start by saying that I was SO surprised by Chelsea’s testament and her defending Crhishell that way. I’m surprised the two are even friends considering Chelsea’s take on the modern-day culture and definition of family. If you recall, Chelsea was very hard on Bre for the way she chose to live her life as it’s anything but traditional. Bre famously has a child with Nick Cannon, who has 11 other children with numerous different women, including Mariah Carey. Chrishell is in a relationship with a non-binary singer, G-Flip, and is family planning with them. It’s anything but traditional, so……

Nevertheless, no matter what you think of Chelsea and her views on life and traditions, her words to Nicole couldn’t be more true. And Chrishell’s words were even more so true, but that’s someone who’s experiencing the homophobic remarks and is an open-minded person, so it wasn’t as much of a surprise. If you think about it, though, Chelsea lives a non-traditional life herself. She’s a married mother of two. She’s the one who works while her husband is a stay-at-home dad. That’s non-traditional in itself. So, in hindsight, she’s not the one speak on or judge anyone for how they choose to live their lives.

No matter the case; whether you’re in the public eye, an influencer, an entrepreneur, or a regular person working a 9-5 job, how you use social media needs to be of consideration and be taken seriously. Any social media activity can cost you a job or an opportunity. And even if you already have a job or that opportunity that you’ve always wanted, any social media activity, no matter how recent or how old it is, can get you to lose it in seconds. Whether it’s fair or not is a whole other story. Should we really be judged for something we posted 10 years ago? Are we really the same people that we were 10 years ago? Was there no life lived and no growth involved since then?

I remember in 2010, when social media was just starting to come around and make waves, I met someone who had a background in Human Resources just like me and was hired by a company specifically to look through job candidates’ social media pages on Facebook. In 2013, I was hired to work at a recruitment agency as a recruiter/writer, and part of my work as a recruiter was to spend my time on LinkedIn and look for potential job candidates for the openings the agency had available. That same year, I worked on my thesis statement where I did research on recruiters’ pre-screening process. I didn’t do the research by the books or by the internet. On the contrary, I actually had to prepare a survey, go out there, and ask those who worked as recruiters in different companies throughout Toronto to fill them out.

Let’s make one thing clear – Nicole from ‘Selling Sunset’ was very lucky in that moment that she didn’t get fired immediately after her bosses, Jason and Brett, found out about her social media activity. I’m sure if she worked for someone who didn’t know her on a personal level like they did, she’d be out the door instantly. But they saw beyond that. When asked about it, Jason said he didn’t know about that specific social media activity, but that he knew that Nicole was better than that. Even though Nicole only started appearing on ‘Selling Sunset’i n season 6, she’s worked at The Oppenheim Group since the very beginning. Homophobia isn’t something that should be accepted at work, especially when it affects a person working at the company in question personally. But it’s not just homophobia that’s the problem, but racism, able-ism, sexism, and so on and so forth that’s a problem as well. That’s why job candidates’ social media accounts are screened in the first place.

Based on my research and experience, I found that judging someone based on their social media can be a very grey area. Social media can literally make it or break it for you. It can dictate your entire career and future. I have several instances of people I know personally that could be used as examples. For one, my friend who’s a composer living in New York. She actively uses social media to promote herself, and has done so for years. I utilize what I learned from her for my own social media and this blog. She’s a good person. She’s a hardworking person. And that’s something that’s shown through her social media. She posts regularly what music she’s working on, what new opportunities she’s undertaking, where she travels, and so on and so forth.

Her ex-boyfriend, who was also friends with my husband for a good 10 years, was a polar opposite. He was a musician just like my friend. He never used social media to promote himself. In fact, I don’t even know if he even has social media. The only information anyone would find about him is the one others would post about him. He’s currently just as successful as my friend, but I can’t say he deserves it. He’s not a good person. He’s sexist,racist, has abusive tenancies, and is all in all not a good person. But those that give him opportunities wouldn’t know that because he’s really good at being a two-faces piece of sh*t. These two different musicians with two different personalities have two completely different ways that they use social media, and they both get amazing opportunities because one of them uses social media to promote herself, whereas the other doesn’t use social media at all and no one gets to know who he really is as a person.

My father-in-law owns a business and does his own recruiting for his firm. Way back when, at a time where I could still somewhat tolerate his existence and pretend like we can be at the same space for a few hours three times a year, he and I, along with our familis were having a summer picnic during the time when my husband and I were about to get married. If you were to ask my husband, it was a ‘Meet The Families Picnic.’ On the other hand, I’d call it a ‘Total Waste Of My And My Family’s Time Picnic And The Longest Three Hours Of My Life Fest’. No matter the case and no matter how you’d call that gathering, there was one specific thing that was said that caught my attention. Right beside us, there was a group of people, a family of about 10 or more people, with adults and kids present, across from us. They were eating, drinking, and having a good time just like any other group of people during a family reunion. That’s with the exception of my father-in-law, of course, as he’s always been a party pooper and a mood ruiner. He looks over to the other group and said that ‘those people’ could never be hired by any company as they were so unprofessional, and any company that did hire them had no hiring morals.

WHAT?!

That was just about the stupidest thing I ever heard. I didn’t know that everyone had to be so professional in a non-working environment. I didn’t know that they was a dress code and a behaviour code at a personal family gathering. But then again, any family gathering with my father-in-law seemed to be a job interview in itself. So why am I even surprised? But he actually got me thinking. There are plenty of people who have a similar, or even the same, mindset as my father-in-law. I don’t know anyone like that personally as I don’t surround myself with these types of people by choice, but I’m sure there are plenty of people like him out there. But my father-in-law had a point. He was looking at it as a business person who’s constantly looking for people to potentially work for him. He had an idea of what he wanted for his company culture, and what he saw in the people who were across from us wasn’t it. Recruitment, just like writing or any other form of art, is very subjective, so who am I to judge his ways anyways?

We, as a society, are very judgmental creatures. We judge without even realizing it. We look at the ways people walk, talk, and dress. We base our opinions on others on their opinions and thoughts. We base our opinions of people on what they say and how they say it. But you get the point. There’s no right answer as to whether it’s right or wrong. It’s just how it is. It’s come in our nature, and it has nothing to do with social media. The extensive growth in social media only escalated our judgmental side. My father-in-law was right about one thing, actually, and that is the fact that we can lose out on big opportunities that might come our way no matter where we are.

As an entrepreneur, networking is the absolute key to success. Networking doesn’t necessarily need to be at a specific networking or a business event. It can be done at a personal event such as a friend’s party or even a family gathering. You never know who you might meet and where. Therefore, no matter where we are, we must put our best face forward and promote ourselves and our personalities. One doesn’t have to be an entrepreneur to promote him or herself. You can be a 9-5 employee and still be confident enough to promote yourself. That’s something none of us think of on a day to day basis, and it was only after that incident with my father-in-law that I realized how true that sentiment can be.

Seeing a person for the very first time is just the same as seeing a resume, and then a job candidate’s social media platforms, for the first time. Both are based on first impressions, and most of the time, first impressions aren’t correct. Nevertheless, a first impression is a make it or break it when it comes to opportunities – any opportunities. That’s why we always have to bring our A game everywhere we go, whether it’s a networking even or a family gathering. And now that we have social media, we have think carefully and think critically as to how effectively we use all our platforms. Nicole from ‘Selling Sunset’, as well as, and I’m shocked to say it myself, my father-in-law are the perfect examples of how truthful it is.

I wouldn’t be surprised if I found out my father-in-law followed me on social media. I know he reads this blog. You know what they say about haters; they’re your biggest fans. As far as I know, my father-in-law is my biggest hater because his son has built a life with, as he’d call me, ‘a crippled girl’. What he thinks of me and what names he calls me is none of my business. What is my business is who and what I let into my son’s life. Sadly, a lot of people see what my father-in-law sees in me. Society is just like that. They see disability first, and the person second. Some, like my father-in-law, don’t see the person at all. That’s the case when someone is looking to hire me as a full-time employee and bases their opinions on a first impression. As an entrepreneur, though, I’d get hired a lot of the times BECAUSE of my disabilities. They see a bright young woman who’s built a life for herself IN SPITE OF her disability, and they saw it by my content on social media. That’s why I aim so hard to put an end to the stigma surrounding disability and illness as a whole – in person and on social media – and show the world that disabled people are just as worthy.



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