The LinkedIn Conundrum

I receive about 3 emails a day from LinkedIn, the career networking service I joined years ago because...um...well...because I never met a social media site I didn’t join for fear of missing out. But like most cults, I now find myself hopelessly entangled and praying for both abduction and reprogramming.

But that's not the point here.

Everyday it seems, I receive an email or notification that some person I believe I once went through a revolving door with--let's call him Jerry--wants to join my "network". You mean my network of regretful LinkedIn members, Jerry? Sure, why not.

But I've been hoping to be placed on some sort of "inactive users list" as a way of being passively dropped from the service. So I never respond. But like a petulant toddler hopped up on Easter candy, LinkedIn just won't let it go.

"Jerry is still waiting to hear if he can join your network."

(I imagine Jerry eating all his meals, going to the bathroom, sleeping and having sex with his phone nearby just in case I accept his request--"Hold on, baby, I'll be right with you. It might be Dave.")

"Jerry just endorsed you for 'time management' and 'people skills'."

(Well I was fired from my last job for missing deadlines and sucker-punching my colleague. So, yeah, close enough.)

"Won’t you endorse Jerry?”

(It says here that Jerry is an exterminator. So maybe I can endorse him for...'vermin'?...'poison'?)

So I spoke to my wife about my problem. You know, the person who doesn't even "have a Facebook", as she puts it. Well, if I was hoping for either sympathy or creative solutions I was barking up the wrong tree.

"Why don't you just endorse or link or connect or glom onto Jerry or whatever they call it. He's probably a nice guy who just wants to be friends."

I call that aligning with the aggressor.

"But then I have to interact with him and keep saying he’s good at things that I have no idea he’s good at or not. It’s too much work and I already have a job and that’s what got me into this mess with LinkedIn in the first place. It’s like the Crips. They’ll never let me out alive," I whined.

"I don't know," she said. "Look at Jerry's picture in his exterminator uniform. The way he holds that cannister of poisonous spray. He looks like he's very proud of his choice of career. I think you should be friends with him."

This is coming from a person who belongs to NO social media networks whatsoever. She had no idea about the commitment she's asking me to make. I tried to explain that it would be like me trying to have a high-maintenance affair with another woman.

I think I might have taken that one a bit too far, judging by the 3 days of silence I endured immediately following that comment.

So, long story short, I let Jerry join my network. I endorsed him for a litany of skills and abilities he may or may not possess. He comes over for dinner every other Thursday and my wife makes him his favorite meal (I just endorsed him for 'meatloaf'). I am the best man at his wedding and have to plan his bachelor party. I decided to scour my LinkedIn network for people to invite, but surprise-surprise, no one has responded yet.

Endorse me for 'chump'.

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