You might think it would be difficult to merge the three topics in the title but really, not so hard. This is a religious weekend for many people (Happy Passover! Happy Easter!) and like many people, I have seen both friends and family. One of the topics that came up was Facebook. I have friends and family who are not on Facebook, and it turns out one of the reasons that some people either avoid Facebook, or use a fake name, is because employers might ask to see their feed. That issue of turning over one's Facebook ID and password to potential employers made it to the House last week, and all the Republicans voted against banning the practice. Really.
Facebook is supposed to be a place where you can chat amoungst your friends and family, share pieces of your life, and promote your beliefs. I have some Facebook friends who are incredibly religious and post all sorts of things with which I personally don't agree, but I know these folks, and know that their beliefs do not in any way preclude them from being able to work, and work hard, in their chosen professions. While there are all sorts of protests about the amount of personal information Facebook shares with advertisers, even Facebook is opposed to sharing your information with your employer, or potential employer. I look at my own page: any employer would note that I'm crazy for my puppy, I play Words with Friends (not during working hours), and oh yeah, I have some political beliefs. Silly me, I thought that was protected by that freedom of speech thing. On my personal feed, there are no naked pictures, no porn, nothing involving drinking or drugs, no gang activity. Nothing, absolutely NOTHING untoward.
However, I have young cousins, g-children and children of friends who cannot say the same. In college and at a party and OMG! holding a drink, even though said "kids" are 21 and are allowed to hoist a beer on a Saturday night. I actually do not know anyone who has never had an alcoholic beverage. If I were an employer (and I have, at times in my life been one) I wonder what I would think of what some people post on their feeds....and then I stop that thought, because I know it's not my business as a potential employer to care what any potential employee of mine does in his off-hours. The issue should be how well he would do the job. But I'm not everyone.
I'm worried about young people and their employment: they're the future, and they are getting truly slammed in this economy, you know, the one without an industrial policy. I posted a few months back:
From 1960 to 2009, the number of working-age men with full-time jobs fell from 83 percent to 66 percent. In Philadelphia, half of all young adults are unemployed, but three in 10 young men ages 25 to 34 had stopped looking for work before the recession hit.
And now we honestly know why: something called mal-employment, when an entry level job goes to someone with far too much education and experience for that position, freezing out people who honestly are entry level. There is a fascinating article in today's Philadelphia Inquirer on the topic, replete with anecdotes and lots of statistics. Turns out that people really DO want to work, it's not that they're lazy, or not looking.
"When a job is repetitious or rule-based, some smart engineer can devise some kind of algorithm to handle the work, sharply reducing the need for people with high school diplomas or less," said Drexel's Harrington. [...]
Why should Ken Dubin, owner of the Dubin Group, a Bala Cynwyd recruiting company, hire a high school grad to be a receptionist when he is able to employ a young woman with a master's degree in organizational development who is educated, articulate, intelligent, personable?
When someone with a master's degree works in admin, where does that leave the articulate, intelligent, personable high school graduate, who might also be capable of handling the job?
A Rutgers survey of college graduates from 2006 to 2010 found that just over half of recent college graduates were working full time, and half of them work in jobs that don't require a college degree.
And so there you have it.