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Most people go through life within a reality distortion field, shaped by the cultural norms and expectations about what is right or good in the world, and the point where those expectations intersect with reality.
While everyone likes to pretend they’re authentic, most people spend most of their lives lying to themselves, largely because society forces us to. Look no further than the website “LinkedIn”, which is where everyone turns their respective bullshit reality distortion fields up to 100 to signal their suitability to potential recruiters in the event an opportunity to level up comes along.
Granted, not everyone on LinkedIn is writing annoying posts or clicking the engagement buttons to be seen, but for the most part, LinkedIn serves no purpose other than allowing some to signal their Professional profile for no other reason than advancing their career or selling something.
Knowing that, apart from deleting your LinkedIn account (which is my recommendation), you should at the absolute minimum use this website knowing that you will never find anything authentic or genuine on this website.
LinkedIn is essentially the Tinder of employees–but worse–because, unlike Tinder, anyone can message you on LinkedIn (on Tinder you need to both smash the like button on each other before someone can fill your inbox with spam).
LinkedIn, much like all the other antisocial ad networks, will never be a place any self-respecting person should spend their time. LinkedIn does not have skin in the game concerning your career; in fact, LinkedIn’s revenue is likely inversely correlated to its effectiveness as a tool for landing a job. If LinkedIn was a great way for recruiters to find great people, they wouldn’t need to spend as much time spamming people, and therefore would not spend as much money on LinkedIn. Much like dating apps, LinkedIn wants to keep you stuck on their website forever to milk you because you’re more likely to click the buttons that make the engagement metrics go up when you find yourself in need of a new job.
This post isn’t about LinkedIn, although I do find it to be one of the most loathsome websites on the internet, but rather about authenticity and how LinkedIn is the best example of extreme inauthenticity.
Authenticity is something special. It’s incredibly difficult to find people with the courage to be authentic.
You might wonder why most people go through life avoiding authenticity, and the answer is simple: most people are afraid of the truth. Most people hate the truth, not because the truth itself is scary, but because they fear the repercussions of being truthful.
Imagine, for example, a friend of yours asking your opinion about their new haircut. And, let’s say that they have decided to go in a direction that’s unequivocally, qualitatively, not a good look for them. When they ask you what you think about their new haircut, you say “I love it!! That looks great on you!”. Their haircut, of course, is awful, and your friend should immediately fix it to regain respect, but you aren’t going to tell them that because they seem to think their haircut is cool, even though it’s not.
Under such a circumstance, it’s both normal and reasonable to lie to your friend about how stupid their haircut looks, because you don’t want to risk losing a friend or hurting them, simply because they have a stupid haircut.
There are a lot of people who cannot handle constructive criticism, so it’s not a bad strategy to avoid conflict or confrontation, but it’s inherently inauthentic to do so.
In “the workplace” people are seldom authentic because the risk of being authentic (with, say, your Boss) is that you’d lose your job. Plenty of people have fragile egos, and in an asymmetric power scenario, there’s a good chance that the Boss has an ego one or two sizes too big for their intellect. While you’d be doing your Boss a huge favour by telling them they have a stupid haircut, you might also get fired if you did.
Your friend, however, is not your boss, and while they could fire you as a friend, the kind of person who would unfriend you for being authentic and honest with them is not the kind of person you should keep around as a friend.
In a sense, authenticity is a corrective mechanism. By being authentic, you automatically eject the worst people from your life, which in the long run, will be of much benefit to you.