I am excited to announce that I am an unrepentant LinkedIn hater.
I don’t like LinkedIn, and I’m tired of pretending that I do.
There’s something so soul-crushing about logging into LinkedIn and seeing yet another paragraph full of meaningless buzzwords. It’s chock-full of wannabe “success mentor” influencers posting inspirational quotes and attempts at making capitalism have a “feel good” vibe. If you dig deep enough, you get to boomer LinkedIn, which is recognizable by the grainy JPEG Dilbert memes and poorly photoshopped kittens. I’ve yet to discover a part of LinkedIn that doesn’t make me irritated. LinkedIn’s overall vibe is as if Facebook was made of cover letters. Nevertheless, I’ve been told over and over that LinkedIn will help me with my personal brand and career. I diligently check it once a day, and it’s always the worst part of my day.
It’s also a great way to feel like you’re just not doing enough. A mere five minutes on LinkedIn is enough to trigger my imposter syndrome. According to my feed, everyone has multiple internships, perfectly retouched headshots, attends five networking events a week and just started their own business while working as a realtor on the side. Logically, I know that it’s all exaggerated. After all, it sounds way better to call yourself a Customer Relations Specialist when you’re working as a cashier. However, it’s just weird, especially when you know these people in real life. Imagine that the same person who posted “rise and grind” on LinkedIn is sitting next to you surfing Instagram during a class lecture. I’m not naming names, but we all know this person.
The biggest reason LinkedIn is toxic is that it glamorizes being exploited under capitalism. It generates a culture in which people are proud of working long hours, prioritizing work over family or relaxation and must always be reaching for the next step. It presents a message that all of our passions must generate income for them to be worthwhile (Love painting? Sell your art! Enjoy fixing up old cars? Better open a business!) The worst posts on LinkedIn are the sob stories about how someone started from nothing, worked uphill and is now successful. Instead of questioning why their life was so difficult in the first place, the framing implies that this trajectory is somehow possible for us all if we just work hard enough. But if hard work is enough, why do we need professional networks? If hard work was correlated with income, why are janitors and teachers paid less than computer programmers? The game is rigged, and I’m tired of pretending it’s not.
Look, I totally understand that LinkedIn has some value in finding a job and creating a professional network. It’s also a good place to post about career success milestones. I’m probably the problem, not LinkedIn. Maybe I’m just not cut out for a competitive career.
I’m just a hater. Don’t shoot the messenger.