I Pray There is No Future

Four years ago – almost exactly to the day – I lost my job. I hate that phrase, though. It’s not like I was walking along one day and suddenly misplaced it. “Hey! Where’d my job go?! It was right here a second ago, I swear!”

More like, my position was eliminated. Out from under me. With nary a word of warning.

Not that I’m bitter or anything.

(Actually, I’m not. If that hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be here, and here is a pretty good place to be.)

But, it did mark the beginning of what turned out to be a long unemployment stint. 20 months and some odd days. I burned through my savings and 401K in the process. Also met my soulmate, so it was a fair tradeoff. I remember all too well the feelings of constant rejection as the days stretched into months and I was unable to land an interview, let alone a job. At the time, my parents raised concerns over my blogging. “You’re putting too much personal info out there,” my mom told me repeatedly. She believed my topic choices might be dissuading employers from calling me in for interviews. Just because I often wrote about how it was 3:00 PM and I was still in my pajamas and, hey, why don’t I make myself a mojito now? At the time I dismissed their concerns with an arrogantly naive wave of the hand. “Nobody’s stalking me online,” I said.

I believed that at the time, but now I’m not so sure. Because here I am, in the midst of attempting to hire a couple of content specialists to grow the team, and I find myself internet stalking every single one of them before they come in for an interview. Case in point: if you have a blog and are filling your posts with profanity-laced tirades against politicians, the media, pop culture icons, and others, that’s fine…but keep in mind that I (or any potential employer) am going to read that. I may (and did) laugh out loud, but I am also going to form certain opinions about you that might influence my final decision come hiring time. This applies to all social media, by the way. You might look cute dressed up as a Japanese anime character at last year’s cosplay convention, but do you really want your potential boss to see you in a skimpy bikini top, superhero cape, and pink wig? Cosplay

Save that shit for when you’re looking for a raise.

This is really just a roundabout way of admitting to my mom that she was right all along. Fortunately, there’s no moratorium on apologies. I have no idea whether any of my blog posts back in the day actually prevented me from getting hired, but in the future (I pray there is no future!) I think I’d choose to err on the side of caution.

What’s really fun is lobbing a question at a candidate mid-interview that makes it clear you have read his/her not-so-private ramblings. The reactions tend to be priceless. A coworker asked me if I was nervous a few minutes before an interviewee showed up. “Not at all,” I replied. “I’m on this side of the table, remember?”

And that, my friends, makes all the difference in the world.


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

14 thoughts on “I Pray There is No Future

    1. I protect my kids with pseudonyms, but made a conscious decision to use my real name here because I had a book to promote. Kind of pointless for me to change it all now, though the temptation is there!


  1. but do you really want your potential boss to see you in a skimpy bikini top, superhero cape, and pink wig? Cosplay

    Save that shit for when you’re looking for a raise – My thoughts exactly.

    Out of curiosity, you wouldn’t happen to be interested in a east coast based candidate who happens to share several interests with the exception of your highly refined taste in music, would you? I am still envious after reading some of your work time stories.


    1. Ha! Well, I appreciate your enthusiasm (and certainly think you’ve got the talent), but sadly we are strictly looking for an extreme west coaster at this point. Should the situation change, I’ll be sure to let you know. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Which is why, with the exception of my linked in Profile none of my social media is tied to my real world name, none of it. Unless you know me in the real world or have been invited to my social media, you will never find me. As a contractor I am always careful. If a client asks do I have a ‘Facebook’ account, my response is always ‘yes, and it is private’.


      1. Even my first novel is under a pseudonym, of course it is erotica so definitely a pseudonym. My next two, both works in progress will also be under pseudonyms, one the erotica and one this one, what I write under here, which is and isn’t a pseudonym.


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