Jan 16 2013

You Can Say “No”

I heard about this new law that was passed to prevent employers from asking for your social media passwords. After the laughter stopped, I realized that, maybe, this would be needed. Not because I need the government to help me manage my interactions with my employers and potential employers. And not because I think the government needs to be involved in other peoples interactions, not at this level. But because I don’t think people realize they have a word that they can use with employers. That word is ‘No.’

“We want you to sign this non-compete agreement that says you’ll never be a DBA for any other company after leaving ours.” Ha! No. And yes, I really had one of these. And yes, there actually are laws against it (I looked it up), but I didn’t need them. I figured out all on my own that I might not stay at that company forever and that, after leaving the company, I might actually want to ply my trade. By the way, this particular dot com is long dead.

“We require you to take a psychological test as a requirement for employment.” OK, I did this, because I was very interested in the output of the test, but I asked them, what if I said no. They said they’d hire me anyway. Why? Because they can’t make you do stuff you don’t want to. Oh, and the output said was I a psycho killer, but they hired me anyway for some reason.

And I’ve heard that some employers want your private email address password. Again, no.

Here’s the deal, what I do in public, out loud, at large, that is my employer’s concern. If I’m posting compromising photo’s of myself and I’m a company spokesman, of course my employer can, and probably will, get upset. But if I’m communicating with my significant other or children, friends, family, etc., in a private space, even one that is digital, that’s what we used to call nunya, as in Nun Ya Business. You just don’t get to go there. Sorry.

Look, I get it. It’s a cold, awful, horrible world out there, especially if you are not employed. I’ll never forget the 3 months (and thank the gods it was only 3 months) that I spent looking for work in the fall of 2001. And when I finally got a job, I took a massive pay cut. Why? Because making X was more than making ZERO, which is what I was making at the time. So yes, you may compromise yourself at times. But, understand, it’s you making the compromise. You get to make the choices. No one is holding a gun to your head. If someone asks you to do something ridiculous or insane, say ‘No.’