(aka: Why I’m Going to Judge the Parenting Advice You Post to LinkedIn)
I’m not a parent. I’ve mentioned this on this blog before. Hell, I’ve even provided some dubious advice on how to be a parent from a non-parent’s perspective. In writing the post linked in the previous sentence, I based most of my commentary off of watching what my friends and family did (and didn’t) do correctly when it came to parenting their children. Three of the four points I brought up in that post — don’t be afraid to let your child fail, don’t plaster them all over social media, and try taking care of a pet first — are ones that I still feel are valid. And the point about not buying your kid things it can’t use properly? I’ve softened on that point, if only to allow for the concept of buying thing your kid needs down the line in advance. After all, the cost to raise a child under 1 has jumped from the $12,000 estimate from the USDA I mentioned in that old post to around $15,750 a year.
I bring up all of this to talk about something that gets on my nerves. LinkedIn is a website that is intended to be a professional networking platform. You can use it to search for jobs, keep in touch with old colleagues, and follow industry news. While LinkedIn certainly has its problems, it’s pretty good for what it’s meant to be. Problems arise, however, when people start using LinkedIn as Facebook.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve noticed a rather unpleasant increase in people using LinkedIn to share political opinions, travel photos, and parenting advice. Which, again, is not really the point of LinkedIn as a social network. If I wanted to see what you wore when you stood in front of a sunset on a beach in Waikiki, I’d get a Facebook and friend you on there. Part of the appeal to LinkedIn was the fact it wasn’t like other social networks.
LinkedIn has also taken to sharing posts that your connections have liked on your home page’s feed. While many other social media sites have already done this1And I hate Twitter more and more every day for it., it’s particularly invasive on LinkedIn if you’re using the site to keep up with what’s going on in your professional industry. It was one of these liked posts that caused me to see a parenting advice list that got on my nerves. This post was titled “Rules for My Son” and contained the following 23 rules for this man’s child.
- Never shake a man’s hand sitting down.
- There are plenty of ways to enter a pool. The stairs ain’t one.
- The man at the grill is the closest thing we have to a king.
- In negotiation, never make the first offer.
- Act like you’ve been there before. Especially in the end zone.
- Request the late check-out.
- When entrusted with a secret, keep it.
- Hold your heroes to a higher standard.
- Return a borrowed car with a full tank of gas.
- Don’t fill up on bread.
- When shaking hands, grip firmly and look him in the eye.
- Don’t let a wishbone grow where your backbone should be.
- If you need music on the beach, you’re missing the point.
- Carry two handkerchiefs. The one in your back pocket is for you. The one in your breast pocket is for her.
- You marry the girl, you marry the whole family.
- Be like a duck. Remain calm on the surface and paddle like crazy underneath.
- Experience the serenity of travelling alone.
- Never be afraid to ask out the best looking girl in the room.
- Never turn down a breath mint.
- In a game of HORSE, sometimes a simple free throw will get ’em.
- A sport coat is worth 1000 words.
- Try writing your own eulogy. Never stop revising.
- Thank a veteran.
Poor grammar has been kept for sake of the fact that this list annoyed the shit out of me. First off, how many colloquialisms can you fit into a 23 point list? I felt like I was reading a folksy letter from a 1950s marketing professional. Second, are you not supposed to make eye contact with women when you shake their hands? Do you not shake their hands? Also, what if your son wants to marry a boy? Does he not marry the whole family then? Does your logic pertaining to traditional marriage violate polygamy laws?
I get the intent behind this post. I get that it’s meant to sound filled with wisdom, despite the fact that it’s a lot of empty words posted by someone in sales. But for the love of all things holy, don’t post this shit on LinkedIn. Your child isn’t going to see it and you’re going to look like a moron for doing so.
While I’m at it, let me improve your list, Mr. Random LinkedIn Guy Who I’ve Never Met. Here’s your list of 23 things to teach your son, only made more accurate…and made for whatever sex your child is. Because reasons.
- Never shake a man’s hand sitting down. Ask him politely to stand up first, hug him close, then give him a belly-to-belly suplex.
- There are plenty of ways to enter a pool. $10 is a reasonable buy-in for most pools, however the larger the cut you can get for merely participating, the better.
- The man at the grill is the closest thing we have to a king. It’s never too early to overthrow him and claim the grill as your own in a bloody coup.
- In negotiation, never make the first offer. Or the last offer. Actually, if you can go through life without ever interacting with a sales person, you’ll be better off.
- Act like you’ve been there before. Except in the end zone. That’s the place to celebrate, no matter what whiny traditionalist football fans say.
- Never request the late checkout. It’s an extra $50. If you’re a real sales person, I’m sure you can convince someone to do it for free.
- When entrusted with a secret, keep it. Unless that secret is unethical, could cause you to lose your job, or cause harm to others. Then shout it from the rooftops (or at least tell someone who needs to know).
- Hold your heroes to a higher standard, but only if you want to be disappointed in them.
- Return a borrowed car with a full tank of gas.
- Don’t fill up on bread. Hide most of the bread in your purse and/or coat, request more, hide that, and then take it home with your left overs. Because free bread.
- Only shake hands with someone if you’re concerned they might be concealing a firearm. Or if you’re dating their child.
- Don’t let a wishbone grow where your backbone should be. Grow wings instead. Because it’s just as plausible.
- If you need music on the beach, you’re missing the point. Leave the beach. The beach sucks.
- Carry three handkerchiefs. The one in your back pocket is for you. The one in your breast pocket is for a guest. The third one if for magic tricks.
- You marry someone, you’re part of their family. That is, unless there’s a mutual agreement between you and your partner for that not to be the case. Which is also fine.
- Be like a duck. Eat all of the bread thrown your way. Seriously. Why was this original list so anti-bread?
- Experience the serenity of travelling alone. Better yet, experience the peacefulness of having your house to yourself for three hours. It’s just as good.
- Never be afraid to ask out the best looking girl in the room. When she says she’s not interested, never be afraid to leave her alone.
- Never turn down a breath mint…but brushing your teeth is better.
- If you’re playing a game for money, don’t make it a game of half skill, half chance like HORSE. Either go full skill or full chance.
- A sport coat is worth 1000 words. Most of those words are going to sound disingenuous if you’re the only person wearing a sport coat, so know your environment.
- Try writing your own eulogy. Never stop revising. Except the when you’re dying part. It’ll save you from doing stupid stuff.
- Thank a veteran. Thank everyone, as it’s the polite and right thing to do. But definitely thank veterans.