Categorized | Job Hunting

But, when searching for jobs, do we really care

Posted on 06 November 2008

George Orwell’s vision, a society stripped of privacy and personal freedom, may well prove prophetic. Consider the Internet: Advertising companies track our movements here and there, devising new ways to separate us from our money. ISPs monitor our traffic patterns, developing highly targeted user profiles. And, perhaps most disturbing of all, government programs like Carnivore act as unregulated electronic eavesdroppers on our lives.

But do we really care? A new CareerBuilder survey seems to demonstrate popular dismissal of, or indifference to, such issues.

The Groundwork
Survey respondents were culled from the CareerBuilder homepage, 465 in all, during the month of February. The first few questions dealt with Internet usage at work, and whether or not employers should track the Web habits of their employees.

One thing seems certain: Americans are constantly on the prowl for a better job.

Not surprisingly, 70 percent of all respondents confirmed that they are active users of the Internet while at work, without distinguishing between company-related usage and personal surfing. Presuming that the other 30 percent did not use the Net at work because of privacy concerns, they were asked a couple of basic questions.

Can any Web site guarantee anonymous visitation? Nearly 56 percent said no and 42 percent weren’t sure. Less than 15 percent answered affirmatively. If a Web site offered secure storage and retrieval of your personal passwords, would you use it? Probably not, more than half (53 percent) of the respondents said. They would still be concerned with the safe keeping of such personal information.

Board on the Job?
Of those who do use the Internet at work, a second set of questions was asked. Specifically, these respondents were asked if they visited career Web sites on company time. Almost two-thirds (64 percent) said yes.

Does your employer monitor Internet use at work?

  • Yes (27 percent)
  • No (25 percent)
  • I think so, but I’m not sure (25 percent)
  • I don’t think so, but I’m not sure (15 percent)
  • I don’t know (8 percent)

These results are so mixed, the answers so evenly divided, that conclusions are difficult to draw. Are we aware of these monitoring efforts by our employers? Are we generally uninformed when it comes to Internet technology? Have we made much of an effort, either individually or collectively, to understand what’s going on behind the screens?

One thing seems certain: Americans are constantly on the prowl for a better job. We conduct our business with one eye on the monitor, constantly checking job boards and resume posts. Perhaps the loss of Web anonymity doesn’t faze us because, we all hope, a better job is just around the corner.

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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Resume Tips says:

    Hello Khan:

    Good article. It sounds like a good number of employees are somewhat careless with their Internet usage at work, which I think is a huge mistake.

    In any workplace, it’s usually a bad idea to use office computers to search job boards or anything else that you wouldn’t want your boss to know about. For starters, it may come off as unprofessional if your boss catches you conducting any kind of personal business on company time. Next, if you are looking for another position and you don’t want your boss (or anyone else) to know, it may be a good idea to save the surfing for your home computer. If you just can’t help yourself during your eight hours on the job, at the very least, you should clear your history at the end of the day or after each use. Chances are, your employer IS monitoring your computer use and it’s only a matter of time before he confronts you about it.

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