Paint It Beige

The business-casual secret police are at it again.

According to a recent news article, twenty percent of perspective employers search for a job candidate’s online activities before making a hiring decision.  Of those who do, a third of them disqualify people applicants if they see something they don’t like.  Simply put, one in fifteen people you interview with is going to be some nosy fascist you wouldn’t want to work for anyway.

To be fair, I can sort of see the boss’ point of view.  Beyond a sterling resume, you might want some sort of assurance that the newest member of your team isn’t going to be strung out on drugs, a kleptomaniac, or itching to go on a killing spree.

These concerns are legitimate.  It’s the method I object to.

Let’s be honest.  We all have parts of ourselves that are embarrassing, sordid, or downright disgusting.  We keep some of these things secret but not all.  However, to maintain a career, we keep them out of the workplace.

My boss’ greatest concern is whether I get my work done, as it should be.  He doesn’t care whom I’m sleeping with, how many drugs I might ingest at Burning Man, or a detailed description of my last bowel movement.

It’s my responsibility to keep what I do in my off hours from interfering with my job duties.  If I have a MySpace page with pictures of me dirty dancing naked with a Porky Pig piñata, it really should be of no concern to my employers unless I engage in that activity during staff meetings or insist on sharing the photos with easily offended colleagues.

Of course, it’s prudent not to volunteer anything when on a job hunt.  The person doing the hiring probably doesn’t want to see you fly your freak flag.  You should respect that.  So if you’re considering emailing your resume with a return address of, you might want to think again.

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