Screen Shot 2013-07-19 at 7.21.01 AM“You need to attend to your LinkedIn.” My brother reviewed it for me. He sees lots of resumes. It was okay for my first career, but it needed to be freshened up and updated for the 21st century. It was stodgy, like a historian wrote it. Because I teach history. And I wrote it. I’m not a real historian with a Ph.D–I’d abandoned that journey. I was too broke to finish and wanted to try out teaching for a bit. I stayed.

I’m not resentful. I love my classroom. It may have been an honor to teach at the college level but I turned it down. I turned down my one shot at greatness–a chance to adjunct at the local college where I achieved my only full graduate degree–the one I didn’t abandon by the wayside after analyzing “The Law of Diminishing Returns,” as one beloved professor put it.

“You want to teach a couple of sections of Western Civ?” asked my department chair, the Jazz Guy. How cool is that, a career teaching Colonial America and…jazz? Getting work to pay for your music addiction. Nice gig indeed.

Western Civ’s the one class that all undergrads in history must take.They dump it off on adjunct professors. I didn’t think I should teach it…I never took Western Civ. Rochester didn’t require it, and I wasn’t interested. I took obscure things no one cares about except six or seven Russian historians who all look like they pulled the hairs straight out of their head. Find a Russian historian…you’ll notice their hair sticks out. It’s because they pulled it for years trying to get to the end of lengthy Russian novels, sets of bureaucratic documents, and things written in Church Slavonic. It’s partially why I write like I do. Why I needed to attend to my LinkedIn.

“I appreciate that vote of confidence, but it wouldn’t be fair to the students. I never even took Western Civ. Not my area. Maybe there’s something else you need me to do, like ‘Intro to Soviet Purges,’ or ‘Soviet Economics–How to Achieve Excellence in a System that Sucks?'” I had to be honest.

“What do you mean, you never took Western Civ? It’s a requirement for admissions.” He looked incredulous. I stumped a scholar.

“I don’t know–you let me in. And besides, I’m done. Too late for you to do anything about it. I’d rather study dead Russian peasants than dead Greeks and Romans.”

“Maybe I counted all that as European history or something…hmmmm…” he scratched his head and walked away to buy more jazz.

That was the end of my career at the college level, so it’s not on my LinkedIn. But now I have my hands in a lot of pots–teaching, EdTech, writing, business… It’s important to keep up to date on profiles, online resumes, and all that stuff–I teach that to my students. Every once in a while I review all my stuff online and see if I would impress myself if I didn’t know me. Are all the profiles grammatically correct? Are they succinct? That’s my challenge. My friend calls me Madame Tolstoy.

When I view my profiles, I see that there are little stamps of endorsement…crowdsourced votes of confidence from people who know me–and some who do not but obeyed the  suggestion to click and tell me I’m awesome.

In return, I endorse others…a little electronic quid pro quo. I wonder if my click helps people at all…if I carry enough weight that someone says, “Wow, she endorsed him. MUST HIRE HIM NOW!” I like endorsing people, but when the “would you like to endorse so and so for such and such” pops up unsolicited, I feel like the unwitting watcher of a pharmaceutical commercial that’s supposed to make me go ask my doctor for a drug. “Viagra? Yeah, I saw that commercial.” I feel steered and compelled.

“Does Dr. So and So know about emergency medicine?”  I suppose so, he’s been a doctor for a really long time and lots of people aren’t dead because of him. But do I know about emergency medicine? Should anyone care about my opinion? I suppose…I’ve waited for hours at the ER with broken body parts… And I’ve watched ER…

“Does So and So know about creating world peace?” Well, there isn’t any peace in the world, but does is that her fault? 

“Does So and So know about semi-conducting analytics and applications of large data to marketing breakfast cereal?” Who the hell knows? There are only two people in the UNIVERSE who can verify that statement. Why are you asking me to endorse that?

I only endorse if someone’s my field or a field I’m qualified to understand. That means I think you’re great.  And for those who clicked on me, gave me the K+ thumbs up, “like,” and little kitty cat stamps with the smiles, thank you, too. I tried to make my profile shorter and respect my readers.  And thanks to your thumbs up, today, I’m feeling pretty great myself.


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