With the advent of social media, any random thing that comes to mind or an event best kept under wraps can be broadcasted to millions of people in real time. This is good in some ways; entire movements and campaigns have shed light on crises happening worldwide, violent criminals have been apprehended, and funds have been raised for worthy causes. Social media has its pitfalls too – a photo posted on a supposedly private Facebook page could jeopardize someone’s chances for their dream job, it gives a platform to air out drama best kept offline, and it can tarnish a reputation in an instant.
In line with helping prepare Pink Pill minded college girls for the professional world, I wanted to write this post to talk about the importance of keeping social media use at a professional level, no matter how much you want to share that selfie from that crazy party last night.
An Instagram post came across my feed a few weeks ago and I wanted to use it as a case study.
The picture is of a pretty black female third year medical student promoting her sweatshirt that reads on the front “No I’m not your nurse” and on the back “Sincerely, your doctor”. I’ve cropped her face out to keep her anonymous.
I’m not knocking her hustle, but because it’s on social media, it has opened the gates for criticism, and now, will serve as a warning for new grads from any field entering the job market.
This was the caption that accompanied her photo:
There is a way to be self-congratulatory on a truly admirable achievement without downing a couple million hardworking healthcare professionals in the process. Honestly the sweatshirt isn’t even that bad. It could have been less insulting by saying something like “Actually, I’m your doctor”. Where would she even wear this? Certainly not in the hospital – I think wearing that shirt while doing rounds would invite more confusion surrounding her profession. It was the caption that was her undoing.
Black women in healthcare are frequently perceived to be the nurse’s aide, the cleaner, the receptionist (all of which are valuable professions, I’m not knocking them at all), so after hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on tuition and literally the whole of your twenties (or more) spent on learning your craft, I can’t knock her for being annoyed at getting pegged as “just the nurse”. But stating “nursing is not the upper limit of my potential in the hospital infrastructure” smacks of arrogance that could circle back and bite her later on. She’s not even a full doctor yet. Wikipedia says medical school is four years, and residency can be anywhere from three to seven years, not including extra years added for fellowships for subspecialization. It’s like the ignorant, arrogant maiden that Kendall St. Charles talks about, but in the medical field. She will soon learn, (or already has, based on her updated Instagram privacy settings), that it is best not to disparage her future coworkers and peers, even if she has a decade more education and an exponentially higher paycheck than they do.
Even though she has deleted the post, the Internet has a short attention span, but a long memory. From a quick Google search that took me mere seconds, I found myself on her LinkedIn profile, where she lists the name of her business that sells/sold the shirts. This then led me to her personal blog. Any potential employer can do the same and potentially come across it, see her opinion on her fellow healthcare professionals, and potentially influence their hiring decision based on that.
Do I think this will impact her job prospects? Nah, I doubt it. But her attitude might get her in trouble down the line. Medicine is a difficult field and relies on different members of the healthcare team working together. Based on this one social media post, she seems to think she is “above” nurses, which she is, education-wise, that does not mean a nurse won’t save her ass when she is still learning the ropes.
Social media is a blessing and curse. The light is held up to black women more closely in pretty much everything. When on the hunt for a new job, in order to prevent being rejected for something within your control, make sure that anything you post online does not show you in a bad light or brings your character into question. What social media tips do you recommend? Share it in the comments below.
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