Many professionals have an unhealthy relationship with LinkedIn. Don’t get me wrong; this platform has helped me network, initiate super helpful coffee chats, and find jobs. It really can be great, but you have to use it for what it’s for and nothing more.
Avoid scrolling, snooping, and comparing your career milestones to others. It just isn’t worth it. We all know how toxic social media can be for self-esteem. When you see “perfect” lives or unattainable beauty standards, it’s easy to feel down on yourself.
LinkedIn is like the Instagram of careers.
It’s an app where people share their achievements, promotions, awards, and master’s and doctorate acceptances. You are encouraged to build up your “connections” similar to Instagram followers. If you tend to measure self-worth based on achievements or academic success, scrolling through LinkedIn can make you feel worried or uncertain about where you are in your career
Now I know, we still have certain pressures in-person.
Whether it be your grandparent’s nagging or meeting new people, career typically comes up in conversations. The difference is that now with social media, you don’t always get a break. Societal pressures are more in your face than ever before.
Doing well in your career and academics can give you a sense of control and power, especially if other parts of your life are imbalanced. So, if your job isn’t what you imagined or you’re not finding work, you sink further into a slump.
LinkedIn can make you feel even worse when you’re not succeeding, but “everyone” else is.
We place so much worth into how society views our jobs and the titles they bring. When you’re in college, your degree is one of the first things you mention when introducing yourself to others. Then once you graduate, your job becomes the next title and persona you take on.
Humans love labels, and labels make us feel safe, connected, and protected.
What are we without these labels we put on LinkedIn? Who are we without the job? Why are we putting ourselves in boxes?
LinkedIn reinforces the idea of having a career as your identity, thus adding even more need to have the perfect job, the perfect salary, the perfect life, and the perfect education.
Now that’s a lot to take on. But nothing is perfect, and what’s awesome for you might be a nightmare for the next person.
You are not a failure, and you are not doing everything wrong; you are simply human spending too much time on LinkedIn comparing yourself to others.
Imagine a world where you could go at your own pace, take your time to figure out your likes and dislikes, and not feel pressured by the twenty-one-year-old millionaires you see online.
I’ve spoken with countless professors who got Master’s Degrees later in life, and they, too, admit to still learning and can’t pinpoint what it is that they want. Every successful person I know did not have a linear journey to their dream job.
You never know the type of connections people have, their mistakes, and doors closed until one opens.
LinkedIn doesn’t always show that side. Interestingly, 85% of jobs are found from networking, and 70% are not even advertised to the public.
This isn’t to give you a lack of hope. It’s to put your comparison game into perspective. Perhaps, it took you ten steps to land a top job, whereas for someone else it was only one due to a connection. Everyone’s situation is different, which LinkedIn does not always show.
What would you do if these societal pressures didn’t exist? If you never used LinkedIn, how would you feel about where you are in your career? Would you be less hard on yourself? We are so much more than our job titles.
So no, you are not a failure. You can have a resume with gaps and changes and take whichever path makes you happy. Your CV is not a dictator of your worth or your career. The amount of LinkedIn connections does not matter, and the way you go about your path is your business and no one else’s.
Take a break from the Internet, and live life the way you would without the career pressures of society.
We all have our own timelines, and yours makes you exciting and unique to others. Simply because your journey differs from someone else’s you saw on LinkedIn does not mean you’re doing something wrong or have failed. It’s your unique path, and what you see on LinkedIn shouldn’t define it.