Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I, for one, would like to know much, much more about Gene Marks' private life

Gene Marks--remember him?--says employers are within their rights to ask job candidates for their Facebook info:
I don’t want your “password.” I don’t want to be able to go onto Facebook and be you. I don’t even want to monitor your activities on Facebook once you’re hired. All I want is to be “friended” for a short period of time while I’m evaluating you as a prospective employee.
He needs this, you see, because as an employer he has to feel really, really comfortable that he knows enough about you. Well screw that.

Listen: Employers have the right to know everything that's publicly knowable about you. If you have a felony record, for example, or if you've appeared in the local newspapers advocating for the Nazi Party. I've got no problem with that. But they don't have a right to your private life.

And for me, Facebook is relatively private. Not totally: I have a few hundred "friends," so I can't fool myself that the walls of privacy are high and impenetrable. Nonetheless, the people who are allowed inside those walls are carefully chosen, and my privacy settings arranged so that you can't look inside without my permission.

Gene Marks is welcome to drive by my house and see if I'm flying a freak flag from the front porch. He is not welcome to barge inside and start rummaging through my bathroom closets, trying to decide if I'm a good fit for his company. How I conduct myself in public will have a bearing on his business; what I do behind virtual or real closed doors is, simply put, none of his goddamned business.

In fact, there's one set of circumstances under which I might be tempted to let Marks in to view my Facebook page and take a look at my photo albums, status updates, notes, and the rest: If he lets me do the same with him.

Because some bosses are jerks. Some have unreasonable expectations, or are comfortable with harassing environments. Some are just no good. I, as an employee, have every right to evaluate Marks to see if I accept him as a boss. My livelihood and overall well-being are on the line.

Marks approaches this topic as though the employee owes an employer more of his or her life than the employer should reciprocate. Not so.

We've made it a few thousand years of civilization without employers entering the bedrooms of prospective employees. Despite Marks' desires, capitalism and small businesses will probably survive if he's denied entry now.

1 comment:

Gene said...

We have our disagreements, but you write well.