The existential terror of LinkedIn


Several years ago, I applied for my dream job. Not quite ice-cream tester on the International Space Station, but pretty close. I was astounded to get a first interview, and crushed to flame out at the second round. That's the way it goes sometimes. Better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all.

In the past, that would have been the end of it. I'd have moved on with my life and gradually forgotten about it. But fucking LinkedIn…

A few months after the interview, one of my former colleagues posted an update saying how delighted and excited they were to be starting a new role as - you guessed it - my dream job.

Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies. It is doubly worse when they succeed at something you've failed at.

For the last few years, I've had to put up with their smug grinning face dropping in to my feed - explaining how brilliantly the job is going, and what a difference they're making to the world. To be absolutely clear - I hold no personal grudge against them. They really are well suited to the rôle. Would I have been better? I obviously wasn't as impressive at interview but, ultimately, it doesn't matter.

I know the job isn't perfect - they've ranted enough on Facebook to convince me I probably wouldn't have enjoyed it.

I can't imagine what it is like to be, say, an actor - and see your dream job go to some talentless hack. Or to be in the running for CEO - only to lose out to someone who crushes it quarter after quarter. Is it better to see your friends succeed where you failed? Or better to indulge in schadenfreude when they fail?

For most of us, the jobs we fail to get slowly fade from our memory. That's the way it should be. But there's no escaping the viral poison that is the LinkedIn mindfuck.

I know the obvious thing is to stop visiting LinkedIn. But then, how would my my friends know how well I was doing at the jobs they wanted?


6 thoughts on “The existential terror of LinkedIn

  1. DinoNerd says:

    I've done my best to turn off all the social media features of LinkedIn. I was a bit slower turning off notifications that contacts had new employers, so I might have heard about the contact getting the job. But I wouldn't have seen any of their posts about the job.

  2. Gürkan says:

    That's the basic human thing, no? Whatever social class you're in, comparing something in your mind, mostly without knowing. "Let me get the newer model of the car, phone etc."

    I believe most people wouldn't go to their fancy vacations if Instagram wasn't a thing. Or maybe Instagram had to happen just for this reason. Anyway..

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