Beware the red flags in your job search and career – Podcast
The color red means something very special to human beings. It means danger, warning… it means to get your attention. We use red cards in soccer to denote a flagrant foul, red lights at intersections, railroad crossing and for the lights on our fire trucks. Red grabs our vision and our attention when we need it most. That said, many of us are ignoring the red flags that appear in our job search and career. Whether out of ignorance, fear or desperation, we don’t see the warning signs that should let us know, clearly, when a job, career or self-worth is in danger. If you continue to ignore these red flags, I can guarantee that you will suffer the, often harsh, consequences and find yourself wondering where it all went wrong. How much better it would be to recognize these red flags and avoid these bad situations before they do you harm.
April 20, 2012 9a-Noon
LA Southwest College
Go with your gut
The truth is, red flags of warning pop up in our life all the time. You notice someone driving erratically and you avoid them by choosing another way to work. Someone shows up at your door selling magazines, but something doesn’t feel quite right so you don’t open the door. An email arrives claiming a friend is stuck at Heathrow Airport without their wallet, but you check in with them before acting.
We are often following our gut in these situations. We can feel when something is not quite right. Still, in many cases, we ignore that feeling and act anyway. I know I have done it and I am sure it has happened to you as well. We ignore the red flag and we pay for it. I am asking you to trust your intuition more in general, but also especially when it comes to career choices. When we are participating in a job interview, contemplating job offers or developing our overall career, we have to take special notice when our intuition is sending us signals.
The most recent red flag moment for careers appeared in the mainstream news over the last few weeks. It seems that there were companies requiring job candidates to give them their Facebook and other social media passwords so that the company could see what they were posting. While I am more than happy to let companies view anything I post publicly on the Internet, I am vehemently opposed to handing over my private password to anyone who asks. In fact, merely being asked for such information throws up a huge red flag in my mind. Why do they need it? What are they fishing for? What will they do with the password? Doesn’t this also violate the privacy of everyone of my online friends?
(You can find my comments and links to news and opinion stories regarding this password issue on the web site in a post entitled “Companies should never ask for your social media login info”)
Just say no!
When confronted with a choice like this my advice is to leave the interview as quickly and politely as possible and consider yourself lucky you discovered this issue BEFORE you started working there. A company has no right to ask you for this information and you should feel no obligation to comply. You will feel pressure, sometimes great pressure to comply. They may tell you that you cannot be considered for the job unless you provide the information. I liken this to nothing short of employment extortion. Invasive policies like this — or asking for other prohibited information — has no place in any company. Even worse, it probably points to other bad policies that exist at the company, which you may only learn of once you start work. Don’t let them pressure you into doing something your gut, and your mind, knows is wrong.
Don’t ignore the red flags that are often waving right in front of your face. Not every company has practices that raise red flags. Go out and find another, better, place to work. If you found this job, this opportunity, you can find another. You have the skills and knowledge you need. Find a company that respects that. Don’t be so desperate that you take whatever scraps are thrown your way. If you do, you are damaging your potential earnings, your resume and the complete career that you are trying to build. Red flags are there for a reason and they should be heeded when they arise. It is an important part of building the career you deserve.