“No, I can’t code — I’m a leader in the space though”

You’re not fooling me you multi-hyphenate flimflammer

This article has some overlapping themes with one of my previous pieces — but LinkedIn has triggered me again, so here we are.

Credit: PhotoMIX-company via Pixabay

If you — like me — spend a lot of time browsing LinkedIn, you’ll have encountered a fair share of self-proclaimed ‘technology leaders’.

Whether they’re a connection or not, you’re going to see their content; promoting ‘thought-leadership’ across social is №1 on the lesson plan in the Simon Sinek school of personal branding.

a common sight

Every post is saturated with hundreds of affirmative comments, as well as the customary thumbs-ups, hearts and applause; colourful fruit emerging from bland, corporate rhetoric that’s trying a bit too hard to ride a wave of entrepreneurial populism.

The authors’ of these posts generally use emojis in their headlines that are coupled with vague, authoritative nouns — ones which don’t give much away as to their skillset in a professional capacity.

Here’s an example:

Evangelist 😇 | Leader 👤 | Growth-Orientated 📈 | Storyteller 📚

Now, I just made that up — completely off the dome.

And thus the question must be asked: does my ability to generate LinkedIn tier bullshit on a whim — like some sort of jargon spewing, corporate chatbot — say more about me than it does about Mr & Mrs Emoji?

Perhaps.

Credit: Farbsynthese via Pixabay

But I can guarantee that — word-for-word, emoji-for-emoji — there’s someone out there right now using my lorem ipsum as a LinkedIn heading.

To be fair, my own LinkedIn headline is:

“Crafting Narratives to Make Digital Simpler”

and that probably makes you think:

“Oh I get it — he’s a sarcastic hypocrite! Well I’m just going to stop reading right this very sec-”

Ok good, they’re gone.

And you’re still here, reclined in what I’m sure is a rather tasteful home-office chair — primed to enjoy a dash of hypocrisy much as you would a fine whiskey.

Credit: PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay

Despite my tone, I don’t actually take issue with people who shape their profiles in this way — it’s all part of the fun.

LinkedIn is like facebook’s more adult, slightly cringe professional cousin; the one who makes a game out of trying to pass off emphatic gloating as being zealously humble — and sometimes, it’s just as entertaining playing along as it is trying to flip the board.

What I do take issue with, however, is when these people drink a little bit too much of their own champagne, get suitably tipsy and then start social-selling it to me.

I read one such post from a ‘thought leader’ the other day which I’ve decided to replicate here, in a ‘tonally verbatim' sense:

“Sighhhhh— when will they learn?

📝 take note all tech recruiters 📝

> Can I format a dashboard?

No.

> Can I run a command line prompt via the terminal?

Quiet, nerd!

> Do I code at all?

I’ll answer your question with another question — did Steve?

SO WHAT, I say!

So what if I can’t illustrate an entry-level technical capability?

I’m an ideas guy.

And my ideas are — simply put — on a higher level.

I drape myself in matters of business as if they were a majestic cloak, handwoven by Elon Musk himself.

I pull the strings of multi-national corporations; a puppet master, steering visionary transformation— my stage? Capitalism.

I am Neo; I see the Matrix.

So tell me then: why are recruiters GATE KEEPING all the $200k+ leadership positions — the ones that I, as a tech leader, deserve — behind such banal, trivialities as ‘being able to display a hands-on, practical skillset’ ?

It’s utterly ridiculous.

Or am I wrong?

(Just kidding, of course I’m not wrong — the like button is bottom left btw)”

John “sorry, I’m not technical” Smith — Evangelist 😇 | Leader 👤 | Growth-Orientated 📈 | Storyteller 📚

LinkedIn, eh?

A place where Jobs wannabes share articles about the blockchain and think that it makes them Wozniak.

Credit: ToomaCZ via Pixabay

This is pure mid-management, boomer energy if you ask me.

The comments are just as bad— I read one which went something like:

“So true! a lot of these recruiters won’t even look at you if you don’t have a bachelors in Computer Science or Engineering. These degrees are so prevalent today that they’re actually diluted and not valuable in a business sense.”

Despite being one such diluter (I wasn’t exactly a ‘code monkey' in my Computer Science days), the subject did prime me with the ability to quickly grasp technical concepts — as well as give me the confidence to not immediately shy away from any new tools or hands-on technical stuff.

Does that mean that every time I’m asked to use an unfamiliar software I don’t have a mini panic attack and start contemplating having to rely on writing snarky Medium articles to eke out a living, earning just enough to maintain a diet consisting exclusively of salmon cream-cheese bagels, in a 300 sq ft apartment with no heating and wifi only on Tuesdays through Thursdays?

Of course not — I’m a millennial.

But once that fun generational-episode subsides, I’ll hit up YouTube and watch a tutorial.

credit: lukasbieri via Pixabay

In case I haven’t made it clear: there’s nothing wrong with having predominantly non-technical skills. There’s a huge market for them and — once more — admitting to that fact can indeed be quite admirable given the aforementioned climate of entrepreneurial populism.

But titling yourself a leader in the technology space and then moaning to your vast echo chamber about how unfair it is that recruiters have the gall to perform enough due-diligence as to assign you a practical interview component — ensuring that, at the very least, you have a fundamental grasp of the technical field to which you claim such an intricate, strategic understanding?

Not to mention the fact that this leadership position is probably going to be paying out a small fortune annually, representing a pretty serious investment for the employer?

The entitlement is genuinely laughable.

But what’s easier — complaining about it on LinkedIn, or actually taking the time to learn how to do it? Because I know which type of candidate I’d hire.

Or am I wrong?

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