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This is a blog about Truth, Justice and the American Way. The stories are true. No names have been changed to protect anyone's identity, including my own. If the story is about me, then I'll say so right up front. If I don't use a name to identify whom the story is about, then it's because it's not relevant. So please do not call me or e-mail me with your kind condolences or unwarranted congratulations about something that you believe is a cleverly disguised bio from my alter ego. These stories, like my photo, are unretouched.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Social Networking – Sometimes You CAN Pick Your Family

I have a dirty little secret. I have a second family stashed away in cyberspace. I didn’t choose them on purpose – at least not at first. But when I became unemployed, my friend Kathy Kamauu pushed me to use LinkedIn for business networking. So I joined a couple of professional Groups. This is as close to a sorority as I’ll ever get. I had to “apply” and I got positively giddy when I was accepted. Let’s face it, I’m not getting that much positive reinforcement these days.

In one of the groups, I was seduced by a subgroup – Professions and Industries. Now this is hard-core – sort of like joining a gang except you’re not required to wear your pants below your underwear which, I think you’ll agree, is a blessing for all of us.

There are lots of things that you can do in a LinkedIn group. You can go to the Job Board to see what’s available; you can check out the Promotions for free webinars and upcoming events; you can search other members’ blogs; or you can join a discussion group on a specific topic. I gleefully started discussions of my own and participated in others. I made some interesting on-line acquaintances. And then one day I stumbled into the greatest LinkedIn Group of all time: The CAREER INSIDER NETWORK.

And I was home.

There’s no explaining it. This is a group unlike any other. Some discussion “threads” have strict rules. This one has no rules at all. We give each other advice (some of it actually worthwhile). We uncover recruiting scams and gleefully name names to warn others. We cheer each other’s victories – be it a full job offer or merely a 2nd interview. We dispense sympathy when an offer falls through. We are a support group! We welcome newcomers with open arms, but woe to the newbie who wanders into “The Thread” and attacks someone personally, because we are fiercely protective of our family unit.

Serious friendships have developed. People have met face-to-face as a direct result of this group. Members pass along confidential information privately when they hear of an opening that might be right for someone. We bitch. We cheer each other up. We occasionally tell “Knock Knock” jokes. OK, that’s not totally true. Sharn in Thailand occasionally tells KK jokes. The rest of us groan. Professional recruiters and employment consultants such as Rick in Los Angeles and Kim in North Carolina regularly dispense advice both publicly and privately to members, generously giving away what others pay good money to get.

Swifty in the UK tells us that outsourcing is such a problem over there, he fully expects the government to outsource the Queen to China. Mark Dennis in the Philippines is our resident wisecracker and pun enthusiast. Marissa in San Antonio shares great Tex-Mex recipies and George “Stud Muffin” Gurney tells terrible jokes but since he owns the discussion, there’s not really much that we can do to stop him.

This, folks, is social networking at its finest. It is different from “social media” where people use blogs and discussion groups to try to sell their products or drive traffic to their websites. And it certainly isn’t FaceBook, which I have always considered to be a strictly “social” kind of networking between friends.

This is one of those rare instances when lightning strikes; when all of the windows turn and line up perfectly. An unusual occurrence when a business group turns into a family while remaining within the context of conducting business. We in this dysfunctional little family are virtually all in the same boat. We are all formerly middle or upper-middle management types who have, as a direct result of the economic collapse, inexplicably found themselves unemployed, often for the first time in our lives. From that misery has arisen a support group unlike any other. With people from at least 20 different countries, we have forged a bond and discovered that frustration and disillusionment is the same the world over.

This is pure social networking on a business level. It’s not for everyone. But to quote Lynn, one of our newest members, as she said this morning, “I don't know what I would do without you all. I love this board :)”


  1. Wise cracker? Pun enthusiast? Ok I am guilty. The thread really has allowed a choice of sorts. we argue, disagree, yet we come back for more. There is soft nudges to hard hitting ' tough love'.
    There are off topic sharing of personal issues, yet it always circles back to one thing.
    Hey we are here for you.
    Unemployed.. well..... hard to handle. as noted above, mid to upper level management. to .. well.. lower level emotional battles. They are all but gone as I make my way through the networking, emails , phone calls, seeking , follow up, rejections., or lack of communication from the hiring people we though were going to , " get back to you asap with an answer"
    when all seems finished, there it is, ... the email update from my cyber "family"
    some one got a job. / Hey I had 2 interviews.. wow I was called for a resume today.. I did get a job I did NOT get a job.. but we talk and embrace each other in a warm and supportive way that of a year ago , someone told me that there was support like that online? NO WAY..
    YES Way
    WAY !!!

  2. Well, I'm glad that you’re not required to wear your pants below your underwear. Makes it difficult to walk.

    I have never gotten into a Linked-In discussion group but this post is tempting me. If this group can keep up with your wit it must be quite a group. I always like your blogs. I always learn something and you have a funny, edgy honesty to your stories. Maybe I'll check them out. I take it that Mark is in your group. He sounds interesting, complicated. He's a pun enthusiast? No puns in his comment. Too bad. I love puns.

  3. I witnessed this obsession first hand recently, during my visit to the islands. I too understand how social networks can be therapeutic, as I have certainly found myself enthralled in such "thread" with "Cyber-Friends".

    Hopefully the constructive side of the original network purpose pays off soon, and the social aspect of the sub-group keep you sane in the meantime.

    Love ya Sis.

  4. Kay, I am honored that with all the fantastic advice and comments, you would single me out! Your wit, humor and enthusiasm is contagious and I am so glad to be a part of this fantastic, chosen, family!

  5. It’s the Hotel California: about 7 months back, I checked into this group and can’t seem to leave. Going through unemployment and all the negativity and depression that surrounds it, this group clearly is an ideal support. Pro bono advice from professionals, good news, not so good news and just knowing that wherever you are in your day to day search, life’s not that bad. It’s not great, but it’s not that bad. Somehow you’re transcended to another plane and it really feels good. Kay’s immeasurable contributions of encouraging words, shared personal experiences and sound advice make her so special to the group. And she has an amazing wit – she’s a treasure! So come on in and see what’s going on – I promise you won’t be disappointed.

  6. Let me begin and say I have the utmost respect for the woman who has written this blog. I also respect everyone who comes into The Thread, good, bad, indifferent, and otherwise. I have been attending it pretty much since it started. I have learned a lot, disagreed with a lot. I can honestly say, I am not the funny one by any means, but I do sit and give thought to much of the meaningful contributions that comes across and at times give my 30 cents worth. I do take my career seriously, even while unemployed. A chuckle here and there is therapeutic, but back to the grind most of the time. At times I get aggravated and just want to shout out a few words that wouldn't be to pleasant on The Thread and simply ask who are these people, but then, I leave for a week or so and come back and start all over again. I know I do not have the answers but I am always open for a good debate, as long as it is not over my head of course. Anyway, what Kay has contributed here is exactly as she states it. They all have my utmost respect and I admire each one of them despite their pitfalls! So as Joanne stated above, come on down, sit a spell, enjoy the hospitality you might just find yourself in the mist of controversy, a little kindness, but quite a bit of support! This seems to be a book with out an ending!

  7. I also read this blog – the title is brilliant. I am reluctant to say this publically but frankly I was a bit surprised and disappointed at part of the content.

    I thought my “Knock Knock” jokes were the pinnacle of the week for most people on The Thread i.e. pretty much their reason d'etre. I am astonished to learn that they are maybe not that funny after all and even get met with a groan from some individuals. I will reserve my position on this as at the moment, I only have Kay's word for it.

    So, as it’s Friday, Knock Knock – no I’m not going to go there – promise :)

    Sharn Orchard

  8. I never comment here. But I am the husband of the Biz Bitch, which I guess makes me the Biz Bastard.

    This week the Bitch (and I say that in the nicest way possible) wrote a blog post about her wonderful internet family (or as we call it here in Hawai‘i – her ohana). Several of you in her ohana read it, and then you ran right back to your discussion group to make nice comments about Kay’s BLOG. She appreciates them. She really does. But you made them on your nice private thread, not here in the comment section of her blog.

    We all know how this works. The more comments, the better the search engines like it, which garners more readers and more comments, then still more readers and still more comments, ad infinitum. Well, maybe not ad infinitum. Maybe just until she finds a new job.

    So all of her efforts at building a readership and getting more viral are for naught. And guess who gets to listen to the Biz Bitch bitch? There are some notable exceptions today and for that I thank you.

    But I want to share one of the comments that was posted on that OTHER address.
    George Gurney, who apparently “owns” the aforementioned discussion group and has a non-conformist view of type cases, punctuation and spelling, wrote:



    of The Tread that never sleep.

    You’re the best!!!!!!”

    All I can say is, “Amen.” And get some rest, George.

    For the rest of you, what are you people thinking? You know how social media works! Get with the program. And do what you can to cut down on this woman’s constant bitching to ME about YOUR behavior. She won’t say it to you because you’re FAMILY. But she’ll say it to me, ad nauseum and ad infinitum, because I’m just her husband, and as we have already learned, a BASTARD!

    Shape up!

  9. Kay, I think I might have to copy and paste The Bastards comments out on The Thread. I can see clearly that you are a match made in heaven! And just as I love you, I believe I might have fallen just a little in love with your husband, too! =)

  10. I've never seen this blog before but a twitter friend suggested that I read this and I must admit that I am intrigued. I have plenty to say about what jobseekers do that makes me mad. Does this family of your embrace placement people as part of the thread or do you bludgeon us to death? I'd like to have a family where I can laugh and be accepted and be able to tell my weird and crazy stories, too. Jobseekers aren't the only ones who need a support group. We just use Linked In for the job boards. Is this group fun for people who aren't unemployed because if it's just a bitchfest, I already get that all day at work.

  11. The support and wealth of knowledge that goes on 24 hours a day within this group, or as you put it family, is absolutely amazing. I believe whole heartedly that because of this group and it's insight, every single person who stumbles upon it will be in a better position to reach their future goals.

  12. I went to this discussion group looking for insight and support but instead all I found was cat stories and dog jokes. Are you a secret Pet Therapy group?

  13. @Office Girl: believe me when I tell you it's not a bitchfest. Folks on either side of the spectrum share their experiences both positive and negative. And the unending support is phenomenal. Some of the nonsense that goes on is so hilarious – I’m crying laughing. It’s a global community too – scads of folks from all around the world. I’m talking to a lady named Sharn in Thailand who now is a real friend. This forum has truly saved my sanity during this dreadful period of unemployment. I believe there’s something for everyone here. Come check it out and see for yourself – you will not be disappointed. And bring your stories too!

  14. Where have you been, Biz Bitch? Is this group taking up all of your time and you have left your regular readers? I have carefully avoided getting involved in chat rooms or facebook or any social networking groups because I have seen too many friends become fixated with these activities. Some are up all night. It is a phenomenon that I don't understand. If this forum is truly saving your sanity during your difficult period of unemployment, as Joanne above has said, then I say wonderful. But I encourage to start writing again on a regular basis. What this group is doing for you is what you used to do for me when I read your clever and insightful articles. They made me laugh and they made me think. Please get back up on this horse and start riding again. My wife now has Costco boxes stacked up in our spare room and I blame you for this. She says, thanks, by the way.

    Bob Baldwin

  15. Kay,

    You are right there is much joy that comes from the family of threads. I laugh, I cry, I yell and say goodbye but like a dog returning to it's vomit, I am called back to the scene of the crime.

    I enjoy you.

    Rick Farquar, President
    Environmental Transportation Consultants
    Los Angeles, California

  16. I think I'm going to love your blog. I relate already in just this one post. An online family can get you though a tough transition. You find resources you didn't know were out there. Thank you for sharing honestly.