Can Your Words Hurt You?

Yes. I am sure of it. Why am I so sure? Well, things you say in public forums, such as Facebook groups and pages, Twitter, etc., can be read by anyone. “Anyone” includes potential employers, people doing background checks, etc.

I now commence to lecture people who probably won’t read this. Bear with me. It will make me feel better, and hey, it’s my forum.

I hereby mount my soapbox.

So, if you threaten to kill people who don’t agree with you, declare that every member of some other group is stupid or evil, or declare that everyone who does something for a living should suffer or die, all kinds of folks will read it and form opinions about you, not just your in-group members.

I’m seeing this more and more as people become increasingly frustrated these days. I see it a lot in people who currently aren’t working, but will want to be re-hired back at their old jobs or find new ones as soon as it’s possible or safe. I read a lot, because I’m interested in how other people think. So, I follow along on the adventures of some people so far left they make me look like Ronald Reagan and I read many things said by people so far right they make the current US President look like Jimmy Carter.

Are all these people entitled to their opinions (as am I)? Sure thing! And do they have every right to express it? Yes, indeed they do. Is it wise to share those opinions in ways that denigrate or threaten others, even if they “don’t really mean it?” I don’t think so.

You see (and I know most of you readers actually DO see, because I’m venting), we’re sorta stuck here in some weird capitalist oligarchy, which means that the people who hire us are probably business owners or people invested in the success of a business. So, if you think all businesses are evil, that might not go over well. Some business owners may well be of the opposite political party from yours, with advanced degrees, a long history of helping the less fortunate, and a strong desire to hire qualified people, even if they disagree with them personally. But, if you repeatedly insult them, call them stupid, and threaten people like them, guess what? They might think twice about hiring you. (And yes, indeed, I have specific individuals in mind.)

Now, if your opinions about the evils of capitalists, liberals (excuse, me, I mean libtards), MAGA fans, or Fox News viewers are more important than your ability to earn a living, feel free. Your devotion to your cause is, to be honest, sort of admirable in a self-destructive way.

I have some opinions of my own that I feel pretty strongly about., too. But you know what? I can tone it down publicly out of respect for people who graciously pay me a lot of money to write for them. I think it IS possible to express my opinions in a way that are true to my beliefs but not rude, insulting, or threatening to others. And in any case, I’m pretty sure I won’t convince anyone to come around to my point of view by repeatedly calling them stupid, no matter how good that might make me feel.

Let’s take a deep breath and enjoy some orange cactus flowers.

Oh well, people are like that. They love to divide themselves into us versus them, as I repeat endlessly. But remember, those in power know that, too, and they know that a divided populace is much easier to control than one that figures out who’s actually pulling the strings.

And it isn’t evil liberal capitalist me who pulls the strings, potential employees. I just want to give people jobs, but would prefer to hire people who don’t denigrate me in public. And, while en employer can’t discriminate against sex, age, disability status, they certainly CAN choose to hire people who are respectful, open minded, and non violent.

I feel better.

Your words CAN hurt you in the job market. They can also cause people to look at your entire family and set of friends with suspicion. In an ideal world, maybe disrespect and threatening behavior wouldn’t affect people’s impressions of others. But, they do. Right now a lot of us aren’t happy about how things are. We have every right to express that. But, maybe we can try to express it rationally?

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

7 thoughts on “Can Your Words Hurt You?”

  1. When I went to your blog entry I was expecting something different, less practical and job focussed about whether our words can hurt us. I agree that they can hurt us in terms of jobs and general credibility. And that matters. At this time in my life I only express opinions I belive may be dangerous when I have reached, metaphorically or maybe literally “a hill I am ready to die on.”

    But your post inspired me to climb up on a different soap box of omy own. I believe our words hurt us as well as others when we resort to contempt, the categorical judgemrnt of the essence of individuals or groups. Not the behavior or the opinion. We get to judge those . But the essence. Namecalling of any kind is contempt. So is eye rolling and sny other dismissive gesture. Writing people off as not as human as we are is dangerous. It is contempt in its extreme form that leads to genocide. It also, back to the issue of hurting us, encourages vontempt in return and diminished the power of our arguments.

    Climbing down now. And thanks for the opportunity to write this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Notes and commented:
    Please (oh please) allow me to disagree with this lady who is asking us all to be not ourselves in writing or in person. Your words are yours, the very essence of you and if you can’t own or protect things that came out of you (in shape of words), then what are you worth of except being someone who carries doublespeak inside themeselves? All these masks people wear all around us are actually what should be damned in the words you described someone’s honest or raw words. If you are a bitch, wear it proudly on your forehead. And the same applies on ass-holes too. My 2 cents please 🙂

    Like

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