The Freedom of (Hate) Speech

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I saw a post on LinkedIn the other day that troubled me deeply. It was simply titled “The Zionist are cancer to humanity.”

It bothered me not so much because of the post itself — though that was bad enough — but more due to the reaction it elicited. (Forget the fact that it was totally ungrammatical.)

There was a back-and-forth between pro- and anti-Israeli positions, which I duly understand.

But those supporting the premise that Zionism is a cancer made comments that I found particularly gruesome and troubling, calling for the destruction of the State of Israel and the killing of Jews worldwide.

Not because they are not entitled to their opinions — even if they are considered by anyone’s civil-society standards as completely vile — but it was because of the countries that some of these opinions came from.

Countries where if you would dare make comments against government or authority, you could get whipped, jailed — or even killed.

We are very lucky that we live in a country where you can say and publish almost anything without censorship and in most cases not being taken to punishable task. (I wouldn’t yell fire in a crowded movie theater or say “I have a bomb” on an airplane.)

However, that does not mean you need to be unnecessarily repulsive when posting.

I, personally, try to understand all viewpoints. And, whether I agree with them or not, I respect the right of free speech.

But, hate speech is pointless.

And calling for destruction of a country — any country — or people because of their religion, personal beliefs, sexual orientation or race is totally disrespectful.

I respect the rights of both the Israelis and the Palestinians, and had hoped from a very young age that there would be a resolution — and still do.

But the absolutely disgusting comments I read that day make me wonder what could possibly precipitate such utter hate.

I understand the anger of people who have lost family members in conflict. I have cousins who were murdered by extremists in Israel — and not in war; I lost a great percentage of my family in the Holocaust.

But posting such loathsome commentary on any site — particularly on a site designed to build, not destroy connections, like LinkedIn — leaves me totally puzzled.

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‘We’ll Get Back to You Next Week’

How many times have you left a job interview and either due to your enthusiasm for the job; the positive vibe you received from the interviewer(s); or the need for work, actually waited patiently for the phone call or email with a decision?

If I could count the number of times, this has happened to me over the years, I wouldn’t be writing this post. And, more significantly, I know the usual answers when two weeks later you try to get some feedback: Either “We’ve been extremely busy” or “We have decided to broaden the search.”

Even worse: You continue to wait and look at job postings and see the same job you interviewed a month before posted again.

I realize this will not endear me to any potential employers, nor will it enhance my chances of getting my dream job.

But here is what I have learned after years of on-and-off job search, when stability became an issue:

  • When you hear: “We’ll get back to you in a week,” don’t believe it.
  • Don’t take it personally; it seems to be in the handbook handed out to hiring managers and subsequent interviewers.
  • Do not get discouraged; accept it as a part of the process.

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I feel inclined to share one story; names withheld to protect the guilty:

I interviewed with three people at the same shop — not a group interview, but three separate individuals — and was told how impressed they were with my credentials. But before I could be put on the dreaded “short list” there was one more thing they would like me to do.

It was not exactly a writing test, they said, but would give them an indication of how I dealt with raw material — and I could do it at home and it was short.

Fair enough, or so I thought at the time, as all the other buttons clicked. And as one of the required questions we are told to ask at the end of every interview, I asked once the “non-test” was completed, when would I hear from them again.

You can guess the answer.

Well, this is what I received in an email: a 20-page, single-spaced document to edit in track changes; a request to write a 500- to 800-word blog; and an application that asked everything except my original hair color — when I had some.

Though slightly perplexed, I did all I was told. I waited two weeks to see what the status was and was told it would take a few more days. Then I saw the job posted again.

My reaction — aside from this post — was a smile. Why?

Because this is a buyers’ market; the job seeker becomes secondary to filling the post; and more often than not I probably knew more about the position than the contacts at the company.

Yes, I have read all the suggestions made for crafting a resume, writing a cover letter, how to find contacts and what to do as follow ups.

But one thing I have not seen is advice to the employer on how to treat a prospective employee, who truly wants the job or probably would not have shown up.

This is not a plea for sympathy; this is an example of what is done in civil society.

One last thing: I could do a whole other post on: “You were one of two final candidates.”

I’ll save your reading time.