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Shannon Oliver Headshot

Office Barbie

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OFFICE WOMAN
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Facebook is a virtual town that we visit to be simultaneously informed, amused and annoyed out of our freaking minds. I'd say it's a 33 percent, 33 percent, 34 percent split, respectively.

I like Facebook. It tells me when my friends' birthdays are so that I don't look like a jerk, it forces me to keep up my basic hygiene because at any moment I might be documented then displayed, and it entertains me with funny articles and gifs. But it also reveals the ugly truth that a large portion of people have the social prowess of a mosquito, an indiscreet mosquito. You know, the kind that's not quite smart enough to land without you feeling it. The good news is that at least this way, you can squish it to smithereens (I mean brush it off) -- like unfollow someone's news feed -- but the bad news is that you can be almost certain that another one is going to come along.

Basic oversharing is obnoxious, yes. I don't want to know that you have an inexplicable rash on your inner thigh or that you've been hit with severe depression since giving birth. I'm not saying those things aren't valid issues in your life, but work through them with your close friends and family. Vaguebooking is the worst, too. Don't say, "The most amazing thing happened to me today!" or "Sometimes it feels like it just isn't worth it... " Just stop. I would care more about your story if you just said it. Now I hate your story. It's the worst story ever.

Oversharing and "vaguebooking" are commonly discussed Facebook faux pas, but how about statuses that actually harm the reputation of your entire gender, race, religion, etc.? Those annoy me the most. Some of them might seem harmless to the naked eye but can be legitimately detrimental to society if you look at the overarching tone.

I want to talk about one particular type of status that inconspicuously feeds a real social issue. That is, the female-who-got-a-job status. Ladies, what makes you think that you'll ever be taken seriously in the work force if you refer to your job as a "big-girl job"? Have you ever seen a guy say "I just got my first big-boy job!"? Probably not. Men don't belittle their careers by associating them with pull-up undies. Mommy, wow! I'm a big kid now. That doesn't exactly scream "future CEO." Women tend to share their achievements on social media more often, fine, but how we share them is the real problem. If we expect to be given the same respect and opportunities as men, we need to treat our accomplishments with the same respect.

This goes beyond the "big-girl job" issue. Asking for prayers and good vibes about job interviews on Facebook might seem harmless, but it also reveals your vulnerability. Vulnerability is great in many aspects of life, but when it's about a possible job opportunity, it translates to insecurity. Walking your Facebook friends through every step of the interview process is not the way to present yourself as a capable and confident professional woman. On the contrary, expressing your career-building hopes and fears only makes you look weak, not humble. Men feel plenty of anxiety about progressing their careers, trust me, but they know to keep that dialogue among a small, trusted group. Right or wrong, the appearance of confidence matters just as much as confidence itself when it comes to climbing the corporate ladder. If you're new to a city and want to put up a "Hey -- anyone hiring in DC?" status, that's fine (no shame -- that's how I ended up with a lot of job leads when I moved). But don't make it a long ordeal about finding your place in the world. And once the interviews begin, let it pan out until you can put up a status that says "Proud to say I'm the newest donut-flavor taster at Krispy Kreme!" [Note: Not "I got my first big-girl job, and it's awesome because I get to taste donuts!" or "Finding out tomorrow if I get this Krispy Kreme job! Keep me in your thoughts."]

One more thing: Don't put up pictures of your interview outfits or your first day of work outfit (unless you're one of the 3,000,000,000 fashion bloggers out there who consistently puts up your OOTD on a web page of some sort). Women make it seem that they are not focused on the most important thing -- the job -- if posting their cute, business-casual outfit was the priority of their morning. You are not office Barbie. You are a professional, working woman. Dress cute if you want to, but don't make that the focus. For all the sake of womankind.

Was I too harsh? Eh, you'll be fine. This is good for you.