Bret Rumbeck
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Here you'll find reviews of music, discussion of sports, social/political commentary and thoughts on the professional world. 

I Don’t Get LinkedIn. There. I Said It.

A number of years ago, my college history professor kept bugging me to get on this professional networking website. 

“This is a great way to show off what you’ve done,” she wrote.

I wasn’t sure what the deal was, so, I signed up. Welcome to LinkedIn! The professional’s version of MySpace!

Kind of. There are rules.

Over time, I’ve gained a ‘network’ of over 300 ‘connections’. Some of these people I’ve worked with, some of them are friends and others… well, others are. Hm. I don’t know who you are. 

At first, I did my best to keep up with the site. I’d try and add skills or projects, and then update parts of my resume. Then, LinkedIn added this very odd ‘endorsements’ element to the site. All of a sudden, my ‘connections’ were endorsing me for all sorts of skills!

John Doe endorsed you for 'English'. Thanks, John! I’ve always been good at using my native tongue! 

Jane Smith endorsed you for 'history'. Jane, thanks for the history endorsement. You must have read my thesis paper on Richard Nixon, or root causes of the Soviet/Afghan war. It’s clear to everyone now that I know the history of all human existence.

High School Friend endorsed you for 'legislative'. Wait, wait, wait. High School Friend? Yeah, the guy I haven’t seen since we graduated 18 years ago and who I’ve never worked with gave me a ‘legislative’ endorsement? What the hell does that even mean? And how do you know I’m even good at it?

I turned that feature off shortly after that. No more endorsements. 

Realtor In Chicago wants to connect with you. I loathe that message. Who are you? At first, I thought maybe there was a secondary connection, or the person got a new name. I wanted to think, “Oh that’s Guy Down The Hall from college!” Nope. Not him. Realtor in Chicago who wants to connect is really a 55-year old man who wants to ‘connect’. Lord knows why. Maybe he thinks that Idaho really means Illinois, or that one day, I just might move to Nowheresville, Illinois, and on a total whim, look at LinkedIn and call him to sell me a house. Thank you, Realtor… I’ll mark you as spam. Good luck with that escrow!

Ishtar has viewed your profile. Who’s Ishtar? Is he hiring? Oh man, this might be a lead…. wait, no. Ishtar’s in India. What are you looking for, Ishtar?

Here’s what my LinkedIn feed’s looked like the past few weeks.

  • Someone sharing a photo of a female Marine who had a man thank her husband for his service.
  • Someone sharing a photo of a Korean War veteran who wants to see if he can get 1,000 likes.
  • Someone asking which book cover looked best. Pick one: A, B or C.
  • Someone sharing a photo of his/her daughter graduating from college. 
  • Someone shared a photo of a family who is traveling the world for the next year.
  • Someone sharing an inspirational quote from George Washington (who actually didn’t say that quote. I looked it up, because, you know… I’ve got that ‘history’ endorsement.)
  • Someone shaming another person for “treating LinkedIn like Facebook”. Apparently, this is a very major faux pau.
  • Someone posted a meme encouraging people to ‘be a fuckin’ shark today!’
  • Someone took a birthday selfie, posted it on LinkedIn and wrote, ‘It’s my birthday!’… obviously fishing for professional happy birthday messages.

Maybe this is professional. When I step back and think about it, this is the kind of stuff that gets forwarded around the office email a few times a week.

I know this is odd because I posted this on LinkedIn. Mostly because I don’t care, partly because I’m looking for someone to shame me. I want to be told I don’t know the rules of a professional website that really isn’t professional at all. That’s 21st century irony, and I’m sure Alanis Morissette will put it in the remastered, extended verse version of ‘Ironic’. Sing with me!

LinkedIn connection, that you don’t even know

A job alert, that really blows

It’s like ten thousand posts with nothing to do with work

It’s like commenting on a status, and finding out you don’t even know him

And isn't it ironic? Don't you think?