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Haters, They Gonna Hate

Haters, They Gonna Hate

I started writing a blog when I went to Israel a couple summers ago. It’s the cliche white kid thing to do when you study abroad. But, rather than bore my five readers with endless descriptions of the foreign places I get to travel to and inside jokes about my new friends, I tried to veer my web log in a different direction. One that allows me to be creative/witty/funny and hopefully one that would attract more readers. I think that I’ve been mostly successful in this blog. I have a few committed readers that have followed me from the beginning and others that have joined along the way. I’ve also tried to become more visible outside of my Facebook friend group by switching blog sites and using other social media like Tumblr. I started using tags in my posts, which seems to have caused my viewer stats to skyrocket. For Part 2: My Failed Application for ANTM Cycle 20, my tags of “ANTM, dream come true, failure, lady in the street, modest penis, nake nake pix, penis, and sexual content” caused over 250 viewers to visit my blog, a personal best! I bet most of these people were in search of some porn, but views are views. (Finger crossed that someone jo’ed to my photos.)

Overall, my modest spike in viewership makes me really proud of this little thing. An overwhelming amount of the feedback I’ve received has been really positive, which encourages me to keep writing. However, a few days ago I received my first (very) negative comment and would like to share some correspondence that I exchanged with a person who cannot decide whether to be called Carlton or Dave.

The post in reference

Comment

Carlton said:
Whew. Really? I think clueless here needs a reality check:First, the world doesn’t owe you anything. Depending on the position, the relevant hiring criteria is not just whether you have the skills needed to do the job, it’s whether or not you will mesh with others on the job to make work a pleasant (or least bearable) and productive environment. Judging from your patronizing and self-righteous “I can’t believe everyone doesn’t do things the way I would” attitude, there’s no doubt in my mind that you would poison the work environment and detract from others who are trying to put in an honest day’s work. I’m not saying you can’t speak your mind – you can – but your immaturity in dealing with others makes it crystal clear that you don’t have the basic seasoning to be able to relate to others on anything but a little kid level – and therefore your chance of succeeding on the job is minimal. There will be times on the job when things won’t go your way – do you have what it takes to make things ‘right’ when faced with those situations? Your post makes it clear you don’t.

Fortunately, it’s not all bad. It’s never too late to turn your life around – but no one can ‘make’ you do that. The world is full of examples of people who struggled, struggled, struggled, but found a way to ‘make’ it. No use sugar coating it: it requires WORK – WORK to get the skills you need, and work to learn how to relate to others. Get rid of the bitterness, please. And – Good Luck!

I decided to write this guy back since he obviously had nothing better to do than spend a good chunk of his day reading a random blog post and offering his “advice.” (I also had nothing better to do at work)

My Response #1

Hey Carlton,

Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog. It means a lot that you took the time to read it and offer your feedback. I know I’m not perfect (and neither is my blog) but it was eye-opening to hear such a strong reaction from a post that wasn’t intended to hurt anyone’s feelings. Obviously, I was frustrated with the job search at the time, but I didn’t directly trash anyone by name. I thought I offered constructive feedback from a job applicant’s point of view.
 

Your response to me, on the other hand, was very direct and quite hurtful. Calling me “patronizing and self-righteous” and saying that I “would poison the work environment” is overstepping your qualifications as a random blog commenter to criticize my work ethic and personality. If you wish to explain what your work experience is and why you think I’d be such a terrible employee that might give me a better understanding of where you’re coming from. I will then tell you where I’m currently working and my experience here. (From my performance review, no one thinks of me as patronizing, self-righteous, or poison). 

I do appreciate that you try to end in a constructive way. However, your tone here is (ironically enough) very patronizing. “Get rid of the bitterness, please” is something I could hear my grandma saying, but I would be much more open to criticism from her. Once again, I really appreciate you taking the time to read my blog. How did you stumble across it? But, if I may offer you some advice, please keep your comments (no matter how critical they may be) polite and constructive. I will definitely be open to any suggestions you have.

Sincerely,
Peter

I wasn’t sure if he’d reply or not. His Google name is Carlton Dogood, but I’ve seen enough episode of “Catfish” to know that some people need attention and will respond to anything.

His Response

Greetings,Yes I have re-read my post and indeed it was harsh.  I think I could have communicated the thoughts without the scathing tone or casting you in that light – I will be more conscious of that in the future.

I have worked for over twenty years and, in that time, I have experienced the dynamics of over a half dozen different offices and clients.  It’s from that perspective that I contributed to your blog.  The personalities you encounter in the workplace are varied.  I don’t shun tension in the office, on the contrary, I think some tension might actually be constructive, because it gives you focus and direction to perform knowing there are critics who would use your stumble to their advantage.  The nature of competition, I suppose.  I suppose I was reminded, as I read your blog, of certain colleagues in the past that made the work environment unpleasant, not because their skills were inadequate, but rather because whenever a crisis hit, no matter how minor, they would spend way too much time being upset about the situation and accusatory (“I am the victim”) instead of focusing on getting the problem corrected – or, if there was a personality conflict with one or more colleagues, they didn’t have the skills to not let that conflict interfere with getting the job done.Given that I have no work history with you, it was unfair of me to categorize you among those ‘certain colleagues’ based solely on what I read in your blog.  For that I do apologize.  I have seen excellent talent in the workplace get marginalized or, worse, let go due to deficiency in dealing with adverse situations.I found your blog as I was googling for job opportunities for someone one year out of high school who has no work experience and is highly frustrated with the job search.  I was curious to find out what others who are just starting out are experiencing as they enter workforce and somehow your site came up as a ‘hit’ (i forget what search terms i was using).

At the risk of sounding patronizing, allow me this: place yourself in the shoes of a prospective employer.  You have already made a good impression and they are poised to hire you.  They then run a search on the internet and come across your blog.  They see the frustration in your blog, but, do you think your comments have helped / hindered / had no effect on the decision to hire you after they read your post?

Good luck in your search,

Carlton

And then he followed up with

Oh – it didn’t register when I was composing my note that you are already working.  Congrats on that.  I’d be curious to learn, from your perspective, whether my observations below apply, or don’t apply, to the work environment you’re in currently.
Dave

So is your name Dave or Carlton?

My Response #2

Dear Dave/Carlton,

Once again, I appreciate you taking the time to answer me. I also thank you for offering your constructive comments and some tips from your work experience. I definitely agree that there are many employees who create or add to negative workplace situations by focusing too much on themselves and not on a solution. I would like to think that I do not fall into this category, but it seems a little useless to try to justify this to you. 

Although searching for me on the internet isn’t really helpful since my name’s so common, I do try to see your ending point about how prospective employers’ opinions of me could change after reading this blog post. I’m not embarrassed of my blog, but I also don’t include it on my resume or cover letter. I would encourage you to look at my blog post from the eyes of that person you were helping with his/her job search. He/she’s frustrated just like I was. It’s really hard to find a job these days, especially right out of school. And I think that most of my criticism is quite on point. I worked really hard all through school and thought that I should at least be able to find something. But it wasn’t that easy and there were a lot of unhelpful people and people who didn’t do their job well along the way. What worked for me was just persevering and being creative in where I looked for jobs.

I now work in international development for the federal government in Washington, DC. I’m pretty sure no one in the hiring process read my blog or that if they did, it didn’t bother them.

What I’ve learned most from this experience is nothing. I’m not mad at Dave/Carlton, but I think neither of us took away anything new. He probably still thinks that I feel “entitled” and that employers will read my blog and not want to hire me. I can’t be positive but I’m pretty sure no employer really gives a shit about my personal life outside of work as long as it doesn’t make their organization look bad. (I’m writing this at work if that gives you any idea how much people track what I do.) I do genuinely mean what I said to this guy though when I thanked him for reading my blog. I welcome all comments and thank all of my faithful followers.