Afraid of Economic Terrorism
“But then I wouldn’t be able to get a job.”
These words or words like these are ones I hear a lot in my generation. The companies or rather, the conservatives making a fat sack off the corporations, have been trying really hard to mainstream a certain type of common knowledge.
In the Internet Age at least, though considering blacklisting and the like, I suspect the tactic is as old as sin, this common knowledge has been that revealing oneself online or in general will lead to being unemployable.
Future employers searching your name on google. What if a future employer reads that?
This is what runs through our heads when we consider how much to share and how political to be online and in general.
The problem is…well everything.
First off, who really cares if a future employer reads it? If they’re not a complete fucker, they’re hardly going to be appalled by personal information or see it as a barrier to employment. Furthermore, any person who believes in punishing or in the inferiority of something that you are is guaranteed to treat you like shit or do borderline illegal things to you on the job. No one wants to work for a boss that actively hates you and is looking for an excuse to fuck you over. Even in the short term.
Secondly, why would you censor your entire life for one’s employer. Even if it was closing doors in job opportunities, why would you want to trade any hope for self-expression, self-actualization, and self-growth simply because some hypothetical employer would object. “Are we not men?”
Thirdly, every job that I’ve come across in the last 5 years or so has had the following response to hearing about a personal blog or the like: “Ooh, you have experience running a blog and network building?” I haven’t heard of anyone suddenly getting the cold shoulder because of a personal blog, but I have heard of interviews going suddenly right once someone talks about their intimate knowledge of blogging, twitter, etc… Even a few years back, the polish was on having a website in general. Didn’t matter if it was shit, didn’t even really matter if it trafficked in underage porn. The point was the skillset and the skillset was and still is hot.
Fourthly and most importantly, if it was true. If companies would refuse to hire you if they found something they didn’t like. If everyone was expected to scrub all politics from not only their business life, but home life for the company they worked for. If everyone who posted their story on a blog somewhere was risking never being hired again, it would be the worst forms of economic terrorism the world has ever seen.
And I do mean terrorism. The point of terrorism is to prevent free-expression or movement. To force the object of terrorism to constantly consider you and your aims before making any actions. Pro-choice activists have felt this for years.
Luckily, it really isn’t a systemic economic terror campaign run by corporations to eliminate all future prospects for America’s youth.
Unfortunately, it is a regular old boring terrorism campaign by conservatives and others with interests in the status quo to prevent youth mobilization and thus reinforce political apathy amongst the student class.
Few who make it into the job world see their day-to-day life really genuinely affect job prospects, but before you make it or when you’re struggling to find that first job or so, you’re very susceptible to the fear that you won’t be employable. Especially if you’ve been hit with the other “common knowledge” lie that a humanities major is worthless and anyone with one is already doomed for employment opportunities.
At that age, you’re susceptible to the lie that self-expression, political involvement, self-discovery through forums and meet-up groups is dangerous not really to yourself, but some theoretical future self who’s smart enough to regret it.
And as such, you repeat it and give it strength and pre-cave to a non-existent economic terrorism.
This is kinda bullshit.
Though it’s an ingenious kind of bullshit. The internet has allowed a far more pervasive type of communication and organization. People all over the country and world can communicate, organize, and commiserate. Information can be shared, stored, and repopularized as needed.
Perhaps you are a liar with a firm friendship with the media, doesn’t help when you’re lies are stored and compared in real time by thousands of activists. Perhaps you want a group to live in self-shame out of a sadistic hatred, doesn’t help when that group can find their community with only seconds of googling. Even attempts to keep the populace ignorant fall apart as information is now hyper-available to any who need it.
There’s no wonder why the real world businesses are salivating for a wiser guide through the electronic forests and why those who popularized this lie are so in fright for its potential.
The internet connects us and gives us options.
When the media in America fell down on the job, it was those who express on the internet who picked the mantle of journalist up and kept score. When the Democratic Party forgot what progressivism and winning meant, it was the Netroots that strove to remind them and strive yet today.
As such, some hope to turn it around into a weapon, some hope that the “common knowledge” of the aforementioned economic terrorism will keep these voices in check and in fear to more “traditional” i.e. conservative interests.
And we can see that in the actions of conservative activists.
When conservative blogger Ed Whelan didn’t like the self-expression of a liberal blogger in criticizing his lies, he tried to out said liberal blogger in hopes that the economic terrorism principle would lead to the liberal blogger becoming an example, a proof by which to threaten and silence all psuedonymous liberals.
It didn’t work of course, the blogger’s boss didn’t care and the only one’s whose bosses would care would have been the blogger’s republican relatives who lived under direct economic terrorism regarding their employment by the party organization’s itself.
Nor has it worked when they tried to go after PZ Myers, Amanda Marcotte, or Melissa McEwan.
But if these attempts have taught us anything, it’s that except for the rather rare exception owing to dickish bosses you wouldn’t want to work for anyway, this form of terrorism doesn’t work unless you let it.
So don’t let it and the next time you catch yourself hesitating before a post worrying about some hypothetical future asshole employer, consider this instead:
“Do you really want to let the terrorists win?”