Social media is something that some of us have had longer than we've had a 401k. It's followed us through different periods of our life, from our mismatched college days, to our post-grad blues, even through job number one, and potentially job number two. While perhaps you have started to forget about some of those posts you made long ago, when you were certain only your close friends could see them, you might need to dig them up and decide whether or not you should get rid of them before they come back to haunt you in the future.
Wondering how your old social media profiles and posts can resurface, just like that ex-boyfriend you thought you'd never hear from again? Here are five ways they can get in the way of you and your career.
1. Potential Employers
The days of potential employers calling you in for an interview based on what they read on your resume and cover letter are over. Now, employers take to the internet to find out what you're up to and what you have been up to in the past. With just a few clicks and twenty minutes or so, HR departments can see all the way back to photos you once posted inside your Freshman dorm, a decade or more years ago, or photos of you drinking way too much, way too often, way too regularly.
Regardless if you remember taking them, there may be images of you posted from college friends with public profiles that are still linked to yours. A clean sweep means checking your own past albums as well as all the images you may be tagged in by others.
2. People You Network With
The same things goes with people you're interested in networking with. Perhaps you find someone you'd like to have as your career mentor or you are looking to create relationships with potential investors, they too may be hesitant to sit down with you based on social media posts. Or, you may notice that midway through your meeting with them, they bring up something you posted at 4 AM, one night, as a joke, that is not coming back to haunt you. Trust us, one of the first things potential colleagues do with your business card is to Google your name.
3. As Blackmail
We've read the headlines again and again of people losing jobs because of something they Tweeted years ago. Whatever you have posted on social media, even if it was just supposed to be something to make your friends laugh, can be something someone else screenshots and sends around your company or hands over to a news reporter - if they are trying to bring you down.
4. Past Opinions Represent the Present
A lot of people write, "The opinions expressed here do not represent my company or organization" on their Twitter profile. Another reason why you should go through your old social media profiles, regardless if you are still active on them or not, is because you don't want past opinions getting in the way of whether or not a company is eager to hire you to represent them in the future. Add the disclaimer just to be safe.
5. They May Be Out of Date
Your personal brand is your selling point to help you step up your career game. Making sure what it put out there on the internet, from you, accurately represents you, is something very important. You want to keep your personal brand message consistent, making sure that when people stalk you via social media, what you portray is truly what you are. A good way to make sure your personal brand is up to date is to compare your LinkedIn profile with your resume, and ensure that your most recent title can be seen across your active social media profiles.
Women of the Middle East have made significant strides in the past decade in a number of sectors, but huge gaps remain within the labor market, especially in leadership roles.
A huge number of institutions have researched and quantified trends of and obstacles to the full utilization of females in the marketplace. Gabriela Ramos, is the Chief-of-Staff to The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an alliance of thirty-six governments seeking to improve economic growth and world trade. The OECD reports that increasing participation in the women's labor force could easily result in a $12 trillion jump in the global GDP by the year 2025.
To realize the possibilities, attention needs to be directed toward the most significantly underutilized resource: the women of MENA—the Middle East and North African countries. Educating the men of MENA on the importance of women working and holding leadership roles will improve the economies of those nations and lead to both national and global rewards, such as dissolving cultural stereotypes.
The OECD reports that increasing participation in the women's labor force could easily result in a $12 trillion jump in the global GDP by the year 2025.
In order to put this issue in perspective, the MENA region has the second highest unemployment rate in the world. According to the World Bank, more women than men go to universities, but for many in this region the journey ends with a degree. After graduating, women tend to stay at home due to social and cultural pressures. In 2017, the OECD estimated that unemployment among women is costing some $575 billion annually.
Forbes and Arabian Business have each published lists of the 100 most powerful Arab businesswomen, yet most female entrepreneurs in the Middle East run family businesses. When it comes to managerial positions, the MENA region ranks last with only 13 percent women among the total number of CEOs according to the Swiss-based International Labor Organization (ILO.org publication "Women Business Management – Gaining Momentum in the Middle East and Africa.")
The lopsided tendency that keeps women in family business—remaining tethered to the home even if they are prepared and capable of moving "into the world"—is noted in a report prepared by OECD. The survey provides factual support for the intuitive concern of cultural and political imbalance impeding the progression of women into the workplace who are otherwise fully capable. The nations of Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Jordan and Egypt all prohibit gender discrimination and legislate equal pay for men and women, but the progressive-sounding checklist of their rights fails to impact on "hiring, wages or women's labor force participation." In fact, the report continues, "Women in the six countries receive inferior wages for equal work… and in the private sector women rarely hold management positions or sit on the boards of companies."
This is more than a feminist mantra; MENA's males must learn that they, too, will benefit from accelerating the entry of women into the workforce on all levels. Some projections of value lost because women are unable to work; or conversely the amount of potential revenue are significant.
Elissa Freiha, founder of Womena, the leading empowerment platform in the Middle East, emphasizes the financial benefit of having women in high positions when communicating with men's groups. From a business perspective it has been proven through the market Index provider MSCI.com that companies with more women on their boards deliver 36% better equity than those lacking board diversity.
She challenges companies with the knowledge that, "From a business level, you can have a potential of 63% by incorporating the female perspective on the executive team and the boards of companies."
Freiha agrees that educating MENA's men will turn the tide. "It is difficult to argue culturally that a woman can disconnect herself from the household and community." Her own father, a United Arab Emirates native of Lebanese descent, preferred she get a job in the government, but after one month she quit and went on to create Womena. The fact that this win-lose situation was supported by an open-minded father, further propelled Freiha to start her own business.
"From a business level, you can have a potential of 63% by incorporating the female perspective on the executive team and the boards of companies." - Elissa Frei
While not all men share the open-mindedness of Freiha's dad, a striking number of MENA's women have convincingly demonstrated that the talent pool is skilled, capable and all-around impressive. One such woman is the prominent Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan Al-Qasimi, who is currently serving as a cabinet minister in the United Arab Emirates and previously headed a successful IT strategy company.
Al-Qasimi exemplifies the potential for MENA women in leadership, but how can one example become a cultural norm? Marcello Bonatto, who runs Re: Coded, a program that teaches young people in Turkey, Iraq and Yemen to become technology leaders, believes that multigenerational education is the key. He believes in the importance of educating the parent along with their offspring, "particularly when it comes to women." Bonatto notes the number of conflict-affected youth who have succeeded through his program—a boot camp training in technology.
The United Nations Women alongside Promundo—a Brazil-based NGO that promotes gender-equality and non-violence—sponsored a study titled, "International Men and Gender Equality Survey of the Middle East and North Africa in 2017."
This study surveyed ten thousand men and women between the ages of 18 and 59 across both rural and urban areas in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and the Palestinian Authority. It reports that, "Men expected to control their wives' personal freedoms from what they wear to when the couple has sex." Additionally, a mere one-tenth to one-third of men reported having recently carried out a more conventionally "female task" in their home.
Although the MENA region is steeped in historical tribal culture, the current conflict of gender roles is at a crucial turning point. Masculine power structures still play a huge role in these countries, and despite this obstacle, women are on the rise. But without the support of their nations' men this will continue to be an uphill battle. And if change won't come from the culture, maybe it can come from money. By educating MENA's men about these issues, the estimated $27 trillion that women could bring to their economies might not be a dream. Women have been empowering themselves for years, but it's time for MENA's men to empower its women.