Excited to be Proud to be Excited: Welcome to Microsoft’s LinkedIn

Some time ago I rejoined LinkedIn after being away from that platform for years. Most of my connections there are existing clients, and I am a bit different from the LinkedIn users who appear to expend a large amount of effort in growing their number of connections.

Upon rejoining LinkedIn I was surprised by the increased frequency of self-congratulatory posts. Every day I am treated to numerous people being proud to announced that they have done this or that, or opened this or that door, or had an exciting experience. It seems like some people are proud of being proud. It reminds me of purported celebrities who are famous for, wait for it, being famous. The lack of substance is palpable.

Although I am not looking for a job (I have one, thank you) and realize that many people on LinkedIn are, is gushing like this really the way to get a job? Or impress people? I seriously doubt it. It reminds me of a Toastmasters meeting in Japan that I once attended. As soon as I entered the room a fellow walked up to me, shook my hand, and launched into an elevator talk. Nothing wrong with that. But his attitude was a very thinly veiled “Hi! You’re happy to meet me!” Because of the potential reach, the self-congratulatory posts on LinkedIn are riskier than even that guy’s approach to self-promotion.

I sense two types of self-congratulatory posts on LinkedIn. One is specific, boasting of a new job or position or of gaining acceptance by a client or an organization of purported peers. The other, more concerning type of self-promotion is general and focuses on what the poster feels are their strengths. Some people go on at length at how they enjoy meeting people, enjoy difficult challenges, are full of energy all the time, and have lots of other characteristics that they seem to presume will make people love them and assure their success.

This behavior makes me think not that they necessarily enjoy people, enjoy difficult challenges, or are packed with energy, but rather that they are in dire straits, out of work, and insecure. These posts make the originators sound desperate and like they are screaming to be rescued. And they sound more directed to the poster themselves than anything else; essentially, the Little Engine telling itself that it could.

Author: William Lise

A long-time resident in japan, I have been chiefly involved with Japanese-to-English translation and litigation interpreting for decades. I was an electrical engineer in my previous life.