Why Being On LinkedIn Feels Like A Rebound Relationship

What’s bringing the professional social network down, and why we should care.

Being top of the professional networking chain should feel great. But why does it feel so sad?

I’ve had this conversation with a close friend of mine, time and time again. And most of it have been of our experiences with the social network that looks fantastic, but feels so empty. Here’s why I think so.

LinkedIn recently announced a few new products with the hopes of getting more talent engagement from its users. Specifically people looking to establish their career or find a job. What’s surprising is that the type of features created have almost nothing to do about the success of a career or how well an individual performed in a company. Instead, it relies on vanity features that makes us feel good about ourselves, when deep down inside we know there is something really bad brewing with our careers.

How Is This Even Close To A Rebound Relationship?

Well, for one. I’m no a expert at this, but its common knowledge that ‘rebounds’ are simply a way for us to let it out if the system, or get closure. Similar to when we leave a job, or get our asses fired. The first thing we do is get acquainted with who’s looked at our profiles, and possibly looking through past messages of job offers from head hunters.

We seek affirmation that we are still wanted or at least relevant to employers. And this is where we start making the same mistake over and over again. We get needy, and become more available. In other words, the outcome in the real world is ‘Tinder dates’ gone wrong, and waking up from bed only to find a possibly bleak future sleeping right next to you.

In the LinkedIn universe, we start cleaning up our profile, and re-writing our our description headers with a hint of ‘creative’ license perhaps? All so conveniently, to hatch that next big job, or at least a coffee with a recruiter.

We start getting into any offer that is available, and of course sounds like its going to be a change from your last career. This is where it all starts going wrong. 6 months into a job, and you realise, this pattern emerging.

Now let’s hear what experts say

According to an article published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin in 2009, titled “On the rebound: Focusing on someone new helps anxiously attached individuals let go of ex-partners”. It states that when a person starts dating someone new, their success in having found another person to date can help them feel better about their romantic prospects. According to writer Mary C Lamia Ph.D, there are cases where a fear of being without a partner, rather than genuine attraction and emotional connection, motivates someone to immediately enter into a new relationship. Sounds familiar?

What’s also funny is that in another research titled “Coping with Break-Ups: Rebound Relationships and Gender Socialization” by Cassie Shimek and Richard Bello. They share the idea that although social support did not turn up as a significant predictor of rebound tendencies in the study. There were indications that social support might contribute somewhat to rebound tendencies. Linking this directly back to the facade of LinkedIn. Its vanity features is designed to drive or influence others within the social circle to sound or look like they know what they are talking about. Success is not always an output of your work, most of the time its what you post and share on your wall. (I know this hit a nerve with some of you, so think of it as those very rare moments you shared something on your wall to look cool among your social peers, maybe just once or twice)

Offer a ‘service’ rather than a ‘disservice’

Let’s flip this premise around. What if we never had to worry about getting a job again, or having the anxiety of not being relevant?. How would you feel if LinkedIn actually paid you for maintaining an updated portfolio with real feedback and recommendations, rather than lofty long descriptions. That would be awesome wouldn’t it!!?

But it’s not impossible. We all use Tinder and other dating apps that we pay to find relevant connections. Why not have people pay for relevant experiences that is rated by people you’ve worked with? As it stands there is about $19.8B avoidable recruitment cost, and the opportunity is about to grow to $2.7T by 2025*, so why keep making the same mistakes over and over again, and get to the source of human capital — the employee’s worth itself.

Employers might also find it useful if they could bypass the headhunters, and go direct to real individuals that is marketing themselves to the right employee for the right price, with real information. Only problem is, LinkedIn is setup to be kind of a hybrid platform. Its a semi ad-platform, a Facebook wannabe, job connection tool, and career development at a price. I hardly see any focus on creating a sustainable ecosystem of recruiter, employer and employee that raises the worth of experience and skills.

Here’s an Idea

What could online talent platforms offer, that LinkedIn does not? People. 72% of us today feels like we’ve made a trade-off to get into work. What does this say about job suitability, skills upgrading, and the value of artificial intelligence in the future? Not a lot to be honest, because if there is no discourse in how we rate ourselves, and our peers, there is no getting past the robots. I feel that robots will prove incapable, if we learn to value ourselves first. And it begins with the concept that was shared by Anthony Robins in his 12 steps to change your life, he mentions that you should always find your “A-Team”

“Your life is a direct reflection of the expectations of those around you.” — Anthony Robins

This is true if we want success in our careers as well. Why settle for a group of people that are not supportive in your office, and instead look for peers that think like you, and work like you. All of this in a matter of seconds. The idea that I am getting to, breaks all conventions of companies, recruitment, and talent platforms. It focuses on you, and your friends. The commodity is your work experience, and anonymous ratings that you get from real projects and life challenges within teams. This raises your profile of how you work with people, if they liked working with you, and if you fit into a company culture. There are endless limits to what can be done. Think about companies shortlisting people based on their own values. Or teams looking for specific types of individuals that can deliver high levels of performance regardless if people liked working with them or not. Applied in school projects and college study groups, companies can suss out individuals at such an early stage that even parents gets a leap ahead in understanding where to direct the focus of their children. All of this based on pure honesty and the will to want to outdo yourself and shorten the success track by learning from others who are like-minded, not repeating what everyone else does over and over again.

Reference Sources
- Global Human Capital Trends 2016 — Delloitte 
- World Employment and Social Outlook 2015
- PWC Saratoga

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