LinkedIn is Not a Dating Site

I’ve found LinkedIn useful; however, for the better part of a year I’ve noticed more posts that reminds me of Facebook. I don’t need to know my work related contacts’ birthdays. I want to network and share information. If I want to wish people birthdays or other personal news, I’ll do on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. I’m also finding more men contacting me and it’s ultimately not work related.

Sample A from this weekend:

Look, I am happily married. And, I am not on LinkedIn for anything but work related networking or to help my students find work. So, let’s keep LinkedIn work related. It’s not a dating app.

That Awkward Moment: When Your Prof is Rude to You

my prof is

I have taken a few online courses during the last five to six years. I support life-long learning and it’s good for me to be a student after nearly 20 years of teaching. I was recently enrolled in one course and I dropped it. It’s too bad, too.

Why did I drop the course? Well, after four negative experiences with the instructor, I spoke up and said, “I do not appreciate your passive aggressive emails to me.” I also contacted the department to complain about the way that I was treated. I cannot remember the last time I was treated this poorly by one of my professors. Actually, I can, but that particular professor was rude to everyone and some found it charming. I did not. I did not take any additional courses with her and I promised that I would not repeat that behavior.

As a professor, I have had to ask a student to leave my office and go to the chair with the comment/complaint. I have also told a student that a boundary has been crossed with a rude email to me. However, I try my best to treat my students with respect and hope for the same. I have had to walk away from a student and say, “We are done.” And, this has only been when the student stepped into my physical space and I knew that the best thing was to end the conversation.

Overall, I am glad that I dropped the course. I am also quite appreciative that I heard back from the department. I had a good conversation and I was clear that I will not take another course with that instructor. Remember–treat people the way that you want to be treated. And, if you have the urge to be rude, don’t. It takes energy to be mean or rude, and it is far easier to be pleasant and professional. Thanks for reading!

Leaning In

This post first ran on Inside Higher Education as part of the University of Venus blogs. I’m sharing it here on my blog.

I’m going to offer a few reviews of Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In and this first one is going to be a sweeping overview of the entire book. There are specific chapters that I want to speak to as well, but first I’ll do a review of the book and the Lean In movement. In order to get access to the Lean In circles, er… movement, you have to join the site via Facebook, which is of no surprise given that Sandberg is the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook. I say this in both an honest and tongue in cheek way, as I know that the Facebook metrics are working away analyzing users use of the Facebook platforms and various add ons.

The Lean In site offers anecdotes from different women who are members of Lean In and they each share their stories of times in their life when they leaned in. The members are mostly women and some men from different backgrounds (race, class, and work sector). What they share is an inspiring story about a learning experience or successful moment in their lives—either at work or in their personal lives. The anecdotes are concise. There are also videos that vary in time and some are quite lengthy (40 minutes long). I’ve enjoyed poring through the site and reading and watching the different stories. Some feel like testimonies and are quite personal, whereas others read like a motivational speech.

Getting back to the book, Sandberg is asking that women own their skills and success. Try to sit at the table; overcome the imposter syndrome. But, she also warns that we will have moments when we must work together and help others. This isn’t a book about selfishly helping yourself or being selfless. This book offers her personal story about when she had to lean out and focus on family or other issues in her life, or moments when she leaned in to get to the next stage in her career. She refers to statistics, feminism, and important stories as she shares her truth. She also acknowledges that some women (and men) will stay at home and do the important work of raising children, so she gives a nod to the parents who choose to stay at home and does refer to this opportunity as a privilege. I was glad to see this reference, as it is a privilege to stay home. Of course, some women are indigent and at home, but the opt out conversation is often lacking any discussion of class privilege or mention that women of color have been leaning in for years, if not decades and that their leaning in is complicated by racialized sexism.

On a side note, I’m really tired of the reviews and commentaries that are published by a commentator who has not opened the book. Not cool. And I am not keen with the haterade against the book based on the fact that Sandberg is a wealthy, Jewish woman. The review needs to say more than simply attacking the messenger. The book is not perfect, but Sandberg offers some great points that many of us need to hear again and again. I cannot represent all Latinas and know that I have class and heterosexual privilege, but I will say this: there are many takeaways from this book. It is important to believe in yourself, network, make smart decisions, invest in yourself, and help others. Mentor, coach, sponsor. Get mentored, sponsored, and coached. There is more to this book and so-called movement.

Now, I have heard lots of commentary about how this book does not help all women or is myopic in its view. These comments are interesting to me. No book will speak to everyone. This book and its message, though, might help some women realize that they deserve to be at the damn table. The book and its anecdotes might squelch feelings of impostor syndrome. The videos on the Lean In site might also make some women and men realize that they need to serve as a better mentor or coach to those around them. My suggestion to my current students or students who just graduated–Lean In.

Putting Your Best Foot Forward: Interviewing

I serve as an instructor and undergrad advisor to many and then to another group I am also a mentor or coach. I have also cultivated relationships with employers locally and outside of the city. I take these relationships seriously and they know that I try to send them strong candidates. Likewise, I try to check in with some of these contacts periodically to keep the connection fresh and to also ask them questions. I want to know  what is the profile of a strong candidate. Who are they looking for? And, they know that when they call to check references, they will get an honest reference about the candidate.

During the last month or so, I have met with some of my contacts and even made some new ones. I’m going to share some points from these conversations. This list is not an exhaustive list of advice, but a start. Now, it’s not uncommon to have an interview with more than one person and I refer to this group as the interview panel.

You got the Interview! Congratulations to you. Now, you need to impress them so that they call your references and then hire you.

Dress to impress. Ignore those articles on Linked In and elsewhere to dress how you are comfortable and don’t worry about impressing. Nope.You need to dress to impress and try to dress appropriately for the employer. If you’re interviewing for a non-profit, government, or conservative business you should dress according to the culture of that workplace.

Prepare for the interview. Google interview questions and review them and your answers in the mirror or hopefully with some trusted friends, mentor or sponsor. Also, do your research about the company. Why do you want to work with the organization? Make sure that you have a question or two for them, too. You do not want to make it painfully obvious that you haven’t taken the time to research the company and what they do. What is their mission statement? Who do they serve? Make sure that you have these basics down pat.

Be humble. You got the interview and you do not want to turn off the interview panel with arrogant responses. None of us are perfect, so think about what you have to learn or work on and how the company can help you grow. I am not suggesting that you downplay your skill set, but remember that you are getting assessed about how you will work with a team of people. I often remind my students about one employer sharing that a candidate was late to the meeting and one person opened the door to an apology asking, “Did you get lost?” The candidate responded with a quick, “No.” Big mistake. She was late to a job interview and needed to apologize for this. She did not and this set the tone for the interview. Remember that you are the short list and anything that you do that makes you look like a less serious candidate can hurt you.

Google yourself and check your digital footprint. The reality is that employers often creep and check you out–especially if they do not have good references or have a gut instinct about a candidate. I have heard from several employers who are honest about doing their research about job candidates. And, reminding you here to Google the company and what they do. This will give you ample information to ask the panel a question or two.

Prepare examples. When answering questions, offer examples from previous employment or volunteer experience that highlights your skills. You must remind the panel that you are more than competent for the job. For instance, if the panel asks you about working under deadlines, you need to refer to a situation that demonstrates your ability to work under a tight deadline and juggle multiple projects. Now, some of you might have a thin resume and could offer that you worked part-time and was enrolled in courses full-time and maintained a good grade point average. The panel will typically ask about working with a difficult situation or person–be prepared to offer a good example that highlights your ability to combine professionalism and team work.

Get a good night’s sleep and show up to the interview 10 minutes early. And, the next day place a thank you card in the mail. Yes, send a thank you card to the panel who interviewed you. Good Luck!