I ran across a couple people last week whose opinions made me a little mad.
One of my personal rules for internet professionalism is to not post angry. Fighting on the internet is an endeavor in which no one wins. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get angry, and that doesn’t mean I’m 100% successful in following my own rules.
Now, I know that not everyone has to like Hiring Librarians, or to find it useful. And I know that there are a lot of people who do find it useful. In fact, last week two people told me that they’d just found jobs, and that Hiring Librarians helped make that happen. I can’t even describe how awesome that is. Getting a job is life changing, and life shaping, and means even more than the difference between ramen or pork chops for dinner.
The two people that bothered me basically said, “Hiring Librarians is just forwarding opinions, and the responses aren’t relevant past what that one person thinks.”
Well, yes, I guess, kind of. But also no.
Here’s the difference between opinion and good advice: good advice is something you agree with, an opinion is something you don’t.
Any internet blog that’s talking about hiring is presenting someone’s opinion. When someone tells you, “here is what you should do to get a job,” they are sharing their opinion. And its generally based solely on their personal experience or experiences.
The point, or a point, of Hiring Librarians is to show you a number of opinions, all in the same format, so you can stop taking any one person’s opinion as gospel. Including the individual surveys.
I try to give you the aggregate in two forms – mashed together into graphs and numbers, and slowly doled out as individual responses. That way you can read the summary and the detail. I’d love to be able to give you more stats and graphs posts, but I’d also love to stop being consumed by work and have more fun. So.
The individual surveys are each just one person’s opinion, yes. But that doesn’t mean that they’re not relevant to you and your search. They are the real opinions of real people that really hire. Really. You may find yourself across the table from one of these people some day.
The “opinion-ness” doesn’t invalidate the possibility of learning something from the individual surveys. It’s ok for one person’s opinion to affect the way you hunt for a job. Or not. I think you should weigh the opinion with what you know and feel and want, and decide for yourself if it resonates with you. If you don’t like it, oh well, opinions. Everyone’s got one.
The other thing that happened last week is that people started noting their schools pop up in the “Are there any schools whose candidates you would be reluctant to hire?” question. And that made some people angry. Or hurt. Or hurt and angry.
This is not the intention for this question. I’m sorry that people have been upset by seeing their school pop up. I’ve thought about if it’s an irresponsible question to ask, or to post individual responses to, especially when there is often no reason given for why they would be reluctant to hire someone from a particular school.
I stand behind asking it.
Here’s my reasoning: This is the type of question that everybody asks and no one answers. We all want to know if there’s a secret ranking of schools that everybody knows but us. We want to know if our school is the “best” or if the school we’re choosing is really awful. And negative opinions especially, are not often expressed in public. No one wants to offend.
Personally, I want to know what I’m up against. I want to know if people have preconceived notions about my school, so I can be prepared to shine anyway. Because they don’t know me, and they don’t know what my education was like. It was great! I learned a lot!
I don’t get angry when I see my school come up, because I know that this person is wrong.
I also remember that the question asks about a reluctance, rather than a refusal. The respondent is expressing a reservation, rather than an absolute decision.
So in conclusion, my darlings, if you find that you hate what’s being said, if the answers make you angry, well, those two people I talked about earlier, those two people that made me mad, are actually right. It’s just one person’s opinion. And if you don’t see a single person that you want to work for, well, not everybody in the world took the surveys. Only a few hundred. I’m sure there’s some hiring manager out there that’s to your taste.