Your personal brand can run but it can't hide online

Get the RSS Feed


Two stories struck me funny when I put them together:

  1. My friend Jason Alba from Jibber Jobber wrote a review of Bait and Switch:  The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream, a new book by Barbara Ehrenreich which follows her "inside investigation" of the job market, resume writers and career coaches.  I have not read the book yet, but Jason said that her experiences were not positive at all. She is the author of the best-selling "Nickel and Dimed," where she also went undercover to investigate minimum wage jobs. 
  2. This gem of a 2-minute video by Gary Vaynerchuck (Thanks to Chris Brogan for the tip) which so clearly describes our inability to tell lies about ourselves anymore, due to information available on the internet.  I love Gary’s enthusiasm and conclusion.  May the good guys win!  If you can’t see the player on my blog, the direct link to YouTube is here.

No profession is immune from incompetence.  So Ms. Ehrenreich’s stories could well be true.  I just found it kind of amusing that she had trouble getting career advice, networking and landing a good job when she was pretending to be someone she was not. 

Could there be a link?

I better read the book.

8 Responses to “Your personal brand can run but it can't hide online”

  1. Deb says:

    I followed a link from “Yes to Me.”

    Ms. Ehrenreich can’t present plausible research because she tries to do months, or even years, worth of work in a couple of weeks. I wonder if she’s into Speed Golf (also known as “hit and run”) as well.

  2. M.S. says:

    I’ve always been a fast-pace, city living girl, from a family of all doctors. Now more and more I’m realizing that I don’t even know what I’ve been chasing, the dream job and life are so different that I’m reconsidering my choices. I’ve also just started my blog and looking to create a brand, so the ambition is still there, just fine-tuned. All of these articles are so interesting to see that it’s not about the cubicle to succeed.

  3. Heh, good video.

    Isn’t it interesting that so many people are against the introduction of State ID cards, and all the information they can hold. When, online, anyone can find out who you’re friends with, what you have bought recently, where you live, how much you earn, and a great deal more.

  4. Pam, great thoughts combining the two. I didn’t think too much about Barbara not being true to her inner-self, but now that I think about it she did spend considerable time and effort rethinking who she was and maybe that did have a significant impact on her overall success.

    To the other comments above, about the book (or her efforts) being a failure – I also read a lot of comments like those on Amazon.

    In my blog post I stated that I loved the book. Not because she tells us how to do it. Not because of her writing style, or conclusions (the ending was a disappointment), but because in my own experience, and in learning about my JibberJobber users, I find her experience to be very, very common.

    There are “sharks” out there, and incompetent people who want to help us. But for me, the bottom line is this:

    We are in charge of our own careers. Not HR, not our manager(s), and not any of the coaches or professionals that we might engage when we are in need.

    They are helpful, sometimes lifesaving, but there is nobody who should be CEO of Me, Inc. rather than me.

    And too many of us treat our Me, Inc. companies the same way that CEOs treat companies destined to fail.

    Bait and Switch should have been a wake-up call for me years ago, before I got laid off.

    Okay, back to your point about the personal brand and being someone who we really aren’t – excellent parallel!

    – jason

    Amen Jason, that is a great perspective and I couldn’t agree more. We abdicate so much responsibility in our lives, and it does lead to misery, career and otherwise.

    Not having read the book, I was jumping to some conclusions. It just hit me as interesting as I read your review and watched the video one right after the other.

    In my work with clients, I find that the most difficulty in marketing and business design and branding and just about anything else on the entrepreneur path is complicated when people do what they think they “should” do and don’t stay true to who they really are and what they feel.

    In the corporate world, you are definitely not rewarded for being authentic. So it is risky.

    And agreed, there are lots of “sharks” out there preying on miserable or laid off employees. I think the “make money in your pajamas” people are the worst. Kick me hard if I ever get that way.


  5. Wow! That video gave me chills.

    Can you imagine a world where you *have* to be genuine and transparent because EVERYONE will know when you’re bluffing? For some people this would be absolutely terrifying. For others it could be the best opportunity for personal and professional growth in the history of humanity.

    I really hope Gary’s right.

  6. Mark Krusen says:

    I agree that you shouldn’t try to be someone your not. It took me a lot of years and a bunch of jobs to find out what I was meant to do.This blogging thing a ma jing stuff is fun. If I can somehow make it profitable, that would just be icing on the cake. I’m Justa saying!

  7. I agree that Bait & Switch was disappointingly executed. Instances of incompetence say little about a field. However, I think the point she attempts is valid. Some parts of the job market have degenerated into a game of musical chairs, yet there is an impression that those people left standing when the music stopped are there because failed to groom themselves properly.

  8. While I love Barbara Ehrenreich’s writing and her politics, I thought Bait & Switch was a failed effort. Her main target/focus were the kind of sharks that prey on middle-class folk bumped out of the workforce: bad coaches, networking organizations, etc. Like shooting fish in a barrel, and not at all illuminating, like Nickel & Dimed was. It probably seemed like the kind of thesis that lent itself to the undercover reporting thing, but in hindsight, regular reportage probably would have worked better.

    Speaking of thesises (theses?), yours is an interesting one. Earnestness, transparency and, yes, passion (the kind that comes from really wanting work) probably changes the process. But I think the premise was flawed.

    Love the Gary Vee vid, though. Talk about passion and transparency!!