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How have LinkedIn influencers impacted modern working culture?

LinkedIn influencers are telling us all to grind harder and be better. Meanwhile, companies are masking toxic work culture with free fruit and ping pong tables. Has the rise of the LinkedIn influencer tricked us all into accepting sub-par working conditions? 

We’ve all seen that meme poking fun at LinkedIn influencers.

A LinkedIn user satirises the oh-so deep and meaningful content that seems to dominate everyone’s feed, telling the story of missing a job interview to help a starving dog and subsequently being interviewed by said dog.

This viral meme perfectly encapsulates the rise of the LinkedIn influencer.

The premise of LinkedIn is actually a great one. We’re all working more and more online and ‘networking’ has always been a tricky concept.

Your socioeconomic status and background have a big impact on the types of people you’re able to connect with in the outside world. LinkedIn provides all of its users with the opportunity to virtually network with people and aid their professional development.

However, it seems that no social network is safe from the circulation of inspirational content that constantly pushes its audience to become better.

LinkedIn is no exception. The site is filled with daily posts that encourage people to be more productive, more hard-working, and to give 100% all day, every day.

“Get your fucking ass up and work.”

The narrative that dominates LinkedIn posts like these is a pretty conservative one. It promotes the idea that regardless of your gender, race, or socioeconomic status, you can be successful if you just try hard enough. Something we’ve been hearing a lot lately, thanks to Kim. K herself.

This way of thinking, especially in a post-pandemic world, is flawed. The gender pay gap exists. The ethnicity pay gap exists. We’re also dealing with a massive mental health crisis as a result of the pandemic.

While it’s great to have goals and aspirations, there comes a point when this attitude becomes toxic.

The kind of toxic positivity that is often promoted on LinkedIn can have a big impact on company culture.

We’re all going through a lot right now. The world is still recovering from the pandemic and dealing with its after-effects, including job insecurity, loneliness and the struggle to maintain a work-life balance while working from home.

Companies should be recognising their employees as individuals with a range of human emotions rather than pushing them to always be better and give their all. Giving your all can often mean that you’re left with nothing.

Working culture matters

The rise of start-up culture in recent years has seen companies becoming more fast-paced and often emphasising quantity over quality.

Young people working in rapidly growing companies are forced to constantly adapt and produce at an almost impossible rate. Productivity and smashing targets are celebrated above all else and working with speed is not only encouraged but expected.

Companies with young founders and a young workforce mean that the world of work has changed. It’s no longer the norm to wear a suit to work and the option to work from home has become standard.

While more relaxed and flexible working environments are great, could it be that companies are trying to pull the wool over the eyes of their employees?

In a post entitled ‘5 Red Flags That Suggest You’re Working For A Toxic Start-up’, Refinery29 draws attention to the sinister habit of start-ups referring to employees as ‘family’, stating that “Businesses can harness emotional attachments to the brand and induce guilt from their workers by distorting values like identity, worth, and love, with productivity.”

Furthermore, recruiters are now luring people in with free beer, PlayStations in the office and team building days in escape rooms. Benefits such as these seem to suggest a fun and exciting working culture but the day-to-day reality is often very different.

With companies pressuring their employees to meet unrealistic targets and LinkedIn influencers telling us all to try harder, where does that leave Gen-Z when it comes to seeking out a healthy working environment?

Know your professional worth

Young people in the workplace are often poked fun at for being too demanding and lazy. However, what comes across to older generations as entitled, is actually the young workforce refusing to live to work.

Gen-Z is a socially conscious generation and consistently makes a point of standing up for what they believe in. From climate change to trans rights, fighting for the right cause should also happen in the workplace.

Being part of the younger generation has so many advantages. We’re arguably more tech-savvy, open-minded and forward-thinking than the generations before us. It’s therefore crucial, that we know our professional worth. That means not being swayed by the voice of the LinkedIn influencer or the recruiter promising free pizza in the office on Fridays.


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