“Have you met the new Project Manager yet?”
“No, what’s he like?”
“Well he comes with quite a big reputation. I was talking with Sally in accounts yesterday and she said she’d heard that he redefines what’s possible by developing the whole person.”
“And Derek in HR was telling me that many of his previous assignments have been mission critical projects.”
“So what did you reckon then? Good bloke, good banter?”
“Well, my first impression was that he was authentic. And not only that, he had a kind of aura about him.”
“Yeah, he just had that air about him, of a man that is able to embrace dynamic change in order to enable the maximisation of stakeholder value for organisations.”
“Fuck me. He sounds like one of those… those change agents.”
“That’s exactly what I said to Trevor in marketing. He reckons that’s an understatement, he said that through the rich mix of his cross functional experience and diverse cross-industry expertise, John is able to realise huge improvement in organisational performance and operational efficiency.”
“Wow. He sounds fucking mint as.”
It’s a familiar scene, a conversation heard in offices up and down the country; week-in, week-out.
Except it isn’t is it? Because nobody actually says that shit do they? Why not?
Because it is TOTALLY. BLOODY. MEANINGLESS.
Or to put it another way, it’s bollocks isn’t it?
OK, I appreciate that this is a substantial diversion from my usual themes. And I’d like to think that for the most part I’m an easy-going, affable sort of fellow. But there’s another side to me. A bit of a ranty side. And my soapbox is never far away. Which brings me to….
Ah, LinkedIn… it’s social media John, but not as we know it.
Now I have no doubt that LinkedIn has helped many thousands of people to advance their careers, build new professional friendships, and develop as employees and as people. But seriously, has anybody – any, body – EVER, received an email notification advising them of ‘Edward’s new skill’ and hastily clicked to end the suspense? Because I don’t know about you, but unless there’s a fair chance of said skill involving a hammer and Edward’s testicles, then I’m clicking delete.
Every statement from the above conversation is taken from a LinkedIn profile, and it didn’t take much searching to find them.
Who are these people? Do they talk like that at home? In the pub? Or do they save it all up for when they want to inspire and amaze potential employers, clients and investors?
Maybe it’s just me, but after reading through a few of these profiles – after resisting the urge to gouge out my eyes with a plastic fork – I thought to myself,
‘Somebody, somewhere, has spent time and presumably effort to write this gubbins. And he has sat back, viewed his creation, and thought that it was good.’
(You are reading my blog so please understand that the irony of me making that statement is not lost on me).
My original thought was to write a parody LinkedIn profile, but really we’re beyond parody here.
And there is a point to my apparently random ranting; strap in folks, I’m about to do solution-focused.
We live in the information age, we are bombarded with more information – more content, more messages, more manifestos, more strategies – every single day. And so much of this content is empty, pointless, soulless, passionless, meaningless, garbage.
Never before have so many said so much while saying so little.
Since when did mediocre, meaningless doublespeak become our way of impressing people? How, for instance, did so many organisations come to assess people’s potential for a job by giving marks for the number of points that can be made in answer to a given question, without also scoring for the indefinable qualities that can shine through when giving those answers? You know, those things that help us to identify the people that we may actually want to work with, that would be a perfect fit for the role and for the organisation; assessing potential based on more than who can tell us what we want to hear?
So this is my plea – let’s create a society where we can express what makes us unique and not try to wrap it up in impressive sounding words that mean bugger all. Let’s question the meaningless nonsense that we are bombarded with every day and not become the blankly nodding dogs that many of those that spout such rubbish would like us to be.
Let’s do our bit to create a society where interviews with politicians and footballers are actually worth listening to.
Let’s speak from the heart more and from the bullshit bingo card less.
If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next – Manic Street Preachers