Are your heated words scorching your jobsearch success?

Never in the history of job search have individual job seekers been so visible. AND never in the history of job search could you blow a job search so easily!

During a rousing discussion between my husband and a group of young men (my two sons and two of their friends) I learned again how easily words can get out of control. My husband, often overly passionate about his political views, reacted to something his sister said on the phone. She told him DISH network dropped FOX.

My husband assumed DISH dropped FOX because of the FOX’s political programming and voiced his displeasure loudly. The discussion ensued about political talk shows and my husband got angry at one of the young men for disagreeing with him. He made a not-so-nice remark targeted at the young man. His words were continuously repeated on Sunday – almost always totally out of context. It became a joke to the young men but  there could have been worse consequences.

Upon checking, the information from my husband’s sister was incorrect. I Googled and learned the dispute has nothing to do with political slants or programming issues, it has to do with rates:

As AustinBusinessJournal explained:

Over the weekend, a fee stalemate between the television service provider and Fox came to a head with Dish deciding to let its contract expire. Nineteen Fox regional sports channels, FX and National Geographic Channel went dark in 18 cities, including Austin.

Dish (Nasdaq: DISH) refused what it said was a more than 50 percent price increase Fox demanded to carry the sports programming.

But the cutting remarks echoed even after my husband told the young men the hard words: “I’m sorry, I was wrong.” The argument began with misinformation (read Rumor or gossip) but, it could have been avoided.

In a job search, networking, or interviewing, you don’t know what anyone thinks about politics, religion, or other volatile subjects. This extends to voicing your angst about former bosses or companies, rants  on political policies, or whines about how life isn’t fair on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or your job search blog. Obviously, your resume or cover letter also need to be free of references to political or religious opinions.

Your best option is to steer clear of those topics completely. The risk of insulting someone who could move your job search forward is too great. Use your energy to show your value, showcase your accomplishments, and define your match to the market place keywords. Leave the debates to the commercials.

Do you know of anyone who blew their chances by voicing their opinion with scorching remarks?


  1. Dawn Bugni on October 18, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Julie –

    MANY years ago, as a child, I remember hearing a story about a creature so aggressively vicious and vile it had to be kept caged, 24/7 for fear it would get out and bring terror to the countryside. Turns out, this creature was the human tongue and the cage was our teeth.

    (What we won’t tell children to make a point. How did I turn out so “normal”? 🙂 )

    Your story about things taken out of context and uttered without foundation or in anger brought the importance of that long-ago story to mind.

    You shared excellent examples of how quickly things can degrade and how the negativity of a misunderstanding lingers long after words (written or spoken) are shared.

    Thanks for addressing such an important topic.

    • Julie Walraven on October 18, 2010 at 12:24 pm

      Wow! Hi Dawn, what a comment and I was hoping you would come by to share your words of wisdom! I’ve been preaching this for years around the house. Everyone knows that high-pressure subjects are forbidden when we go out to eat or at holiday or special dinners. I usually just need to raise an eyebrow to keep things under control…

  2. Barb Poole on October 19, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    What an important message in the job search–and always!! It struck me as particularly relevant as we move into November and elections. What a welcome change it would be if instead of talking over each other, picking what information suited them, and then spinning it accordingly, candidates (and people in general) would listen and reflect back what they heard to make sure it was what the speaker or communicator meant. Or if we got all the facts before forming an opinion. And if we didn’t have the facts, we proceeded with an open, receptive mindset. Oh, what a wonderful world it would be! Great topic, Julie!

    • Julie Walraven on October 19, 2010 at 8:17 pm

      Thank you, Barb! Such a good point… but I am afraid that unless you have magical powers, it won’t happen… It would be a wonderful world.

      • Barb Poole on October 21, 2010 at 4:14 pm

        Yes, hence the great need for career coaches, crisis communication specialist, PR talent, etc. Great illustration in your post on how things get way out of proportion or context!

  3. Christine Livingston on October 21, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    As I said earlier in the week, I love the image you used for the content of this post.

    I suspect too that, in a small way, I have fallen foul of this phenomenon on social media recently. I was fooling around on Twitter with someone I like to joke with. It was only later that I considered the impact of something we’d joked about, but I suspect it may have cast me in less than the professional light I would like to be seen.

    It’s one thing using humor. It’s another to undermine yourself in the process.

    Which is a long-winded way of saying that, the point you make here about job searching, is just as relevant more broadly.

    Thanks for such a great post!

    • Julie Walraven on October 21, 2010 at 12:27 pm

      Thanks, Christine,for always being so honest in your comments and blog posts. It is easy to be in a teasing mode and not realize that others who are “listening” might not see it that way.

  4. Ed Han on October 21, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Julie, I didn’t realize I missed this–what a great lesson this incident afforded and I love how you saw a teaching moment here.

    As you know, I spend a good bit of time on LinkedIn Q&A. It never ceases to surprise me how often people get up on a soapbox–often completely devoid of relevance–to talk about politics. I cannot understand why people feel their politics need to be part of the professional brand, short of actually being a politician.

    • Julie Walraven on October 21, 2010 at 12:35 pm

      I was waiting for you, Ed, I really did think this would be a topic you would have an opinion on. But I see I missed your latest post also so I will mosey on over to check it out shortly.

      I embarrass easily (maybe I shouldn’t announce that) but I have since I was little and it makes people who have spats with each other in public all the harder to take. I hate the feeling everyone is looking at us. They probably aren’t but to me it feels like it.

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