Here’s a cheerful story about a female academic whose potential employers were queasy about her marital status. This is known in the ivory tower as “the two-body problem.”
my marital status kept popping up in preliminary interviews, campus visits, and even in discussions with my letter writers. “What would your poor husband do?” emerged as a refrain in my job search. One of my recommenders repeatedly asked whether I would take jobs if they were offered. Later, I wondered if married male colleagues had to endure similar conversations. Did their spouses figure so heavily in the calculations of recommenders and interviewers? Were their wedding rings analyzed? Were their poor wives influencing possible job offers? Apparently not. Writing in The New York Times, English professor Caroline Bicks describes how her husband emerged as a “problem” in her job search, whereas no one ever asked him about his wife. “It felt as if my wedding ring was a hurdle I had to clear to prove my commitment to academia,” she writes, “while Brendon’s was a badge of stability and good-guy gravitas.”
And oh God it gets worse:
The labor market roared ahead in April as milder weather helped employers add 288,000 jobs — the most in more than two years. The unemployment rate fell to 6.3% from 6.7% — the lowest since September 2008, the Labor Department said Friday.
Let’s say you were a 22-year-old recent graduate looking for work in social media.
Then, let’s say a new social media network appeared.
What would you do?
Well, if you were Kunal Basu-Dutta, you’d create Ello accounts for every company you wanted to work for, maintain those Ello accounts as if you already worked for that company, and hope one of the companies would be so impressed by your work that they’d hire you.
As Basu-Dutta told The Atlantic:
I’m a social media guy—hopefully that came across—and a lot of people have these inventive resumes. People have used Google Ad Words to push their name to the top, or when you search their name it has their resume. That’s really creative, but I don’t want to do any of that since it’s already been done, and everyone has probably seen it. So when Ello came around I’m like, “Hey, I can set up accounts and run them to show that I have an editorial voice that matches and I get it.” I get the importance of pictures, or that with The Atlantic it’s a mixture of politics and culture.
I wrote earlier this week about the idea that sometimes the internet creates opportunities for new voices, and it’s clear that Basu-Dutta saw an opportunity and took it.