Monday, June 12, 2006

Bachelors of Alcohol

"For Some, Online Persona Undermines a Résumé"

The headline topped this week's "Can kids today be that dumb?" story, from page 1 of the Sunday N.Y. Times. It concerns how college students are being eliminated as job applicants by companies finding the racy, provocative public posturing students do on websites such as MySpace.

At Facebook, a popular social networking site, the executive found the candidate's Web page with this description of his interests: "smokin' blunts" (cigars hollowed out and stuffed with marijuana), shooting people and obsessive sex all described in vivid slang.

RECRUITER: Come on in, Mr. Starkley. So, your resume here says that in college, your major was "'Shrooms. With a minor in sniping. And pimpin' ho's..."

STARKLEY: That's right.

RECRUITER: Welcome to the CIA.

The article goes on:

But now, college career counselors and other experts say, some recruiters are looking up applicants on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Xanga and Friendster, where college students often post risqué or teasing photographs and provocative comments about drinking, recreational drug use and sexual exploits in what some mistakenly believe is relative privacy. When viewed by corporate recruiters or admissions officials at graduate and professional schools, such pages can make students look immature and unprofessional, at best.

A New York University recruiter claims that companies are now doing background checks on prospective employees by searching their pages on intercollegiate sites and posing the question, "Is there something about their lifestyle that we might find questionable or that we might find goes against the core values of our corporation?"

Ah, yes, the core values of your corporation. Now, what might they be? Disempowerment, abuse and petty tyranny of -- not to mention outsourcing and slashing health benefits and pensions for -- employees, swindling or otherwise deceiving vendors, customers and government officials (if not buying the latter off with campaign contribution/bribes), manipulating the firm's stock price so the top execs can make out like bandits, and making outrageously inaccurate claims about your product. That's for starters.

But they're always worrying about the "core values" of their company. The core value of every corporation is profit, by any means necessary. Small companies want to be big, big ones bigger. (Even al-Zarqawi wasn't immune. According to a story on the same Times front page, he wasn't satisfied being a mom-and-pop terrorist operation. He was planning to expand his operation worldwide, to compete with the other brands, such as Bin Laden.)

But I digress. The story quotes a recruiter from a "small consulting firm" who went to Duke University to interview a promising candidate only to find on the student's Facebook page, "explicit photographs and commentary about the student's sexual escapades, drinking and pot smoking, including testimonials from friends. Among the pictures were shots of the young woman passed out after drinking."

This begs the question: Is getting plastered to the point of unconsciousness is such an accomplishment that one feels a need to boast of it on the Internet? I thought that at American colleges, everybody got a B.A. (Bachelors of Alcohol)?

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