The “#OpenToWork” Banner Is Perfectly Okay

One of the most asinine things that I’ve seen on LinkedIn in 2023 is the growing trend of recruiters trashing the #OpenToWork banner and disparagingly referring to it as “desperate.”

My question to these recruiters is: what in the world is the matter with you?

First of all, applying to jobs that are listed on LinkedIn is the equivalent of screaming into space. I routinely come across job openings that have received hundreds and even thousands of applications.


Again: what is wrong with you? How often do you see someone desperately posting a sob story on LinkedIn about how they’ve been out of work for a year and are about to lose their home? Or the single parent who has three kids to feed and they desperately need a job? Or how about people who fell victim to random corporate layoffs, downsizing, or outsourcing and desperately can’t find another job?

Yeah. It is desperate out there. Merry Christmas.

The fact that people are being shamed for using the #OpenToWork banner is both astonishing and disgusting to me. How do you let people know you’re looking for a job without telling them that you’re looking for a job?

One recruiter said you should list specific skills in your headline. Okay, that’s fine. You, as the recruiter, could also, ya know, look at their profile and resume and make that determination yourself, can’t you? By placing a banner over your profile picture, you’re making it clear to the world that you’re open to work.

There’s nothing wrong with that, and my day is always partially ruined when I see someone trying to make the counterargument.

Here’s the thing: after I graduated college, I struggled to find gainful employment. While I was eventually able to dig myself out of the trenches, it took a long time. But you know what the real kicker is?

I didn’t tell anyone that I was looking for a job.

I was embarassed.

Read that again: I was embarrassed.

The thing is, college doesn’t prepare you for the job market. It doesn’t prepare you for what to do during potential bouts of unemployment. The idea of networking through extracurricular activities is there, but did any of the courses that I went into debt for highlight this as a viable option? No, not really.

And so, I largely kept my mouth shut. When I was volunteering at the animal shelter in Carlsbad, I was serving alongside respected high-ranking professionals from all sorts of local companies. Had I mentioned that I was looking for a job, I probably would have found something a lot sooner.

But I was embarrassed to tell people that I was looking for work.

And that’s why shaming this #OpenToWork banner is a load of cow poop. You know why? Because it takes courage to tell people that you’re out of work and looking for a job.


I will never, ever look down on someone because they have an #OpenToWork banner on their LinkedIn profile. I will never, ever call them desperate. Y’know why? Because the whole system is desperate! Look at how expensive everything is! There’s a great episode of Rocko’s Modern Life where Rocko and Heffer take a highway detour to a ski resort where everything is advertised as only five dollars. When they arrive, Rocko is shocked to learn that the advertisement was misleading:

“That’s right. Every thing is five dollars.”

I think of that episode whenever I’m in the market these days. Almond milk? Five dollars. Bread? Five dollars. Peanut butter? Five dollars. Eggs? Well, four dollars. Box of non-sugary cereal? Five dollars.

But yeah, let’s shame people because they desperately want to find a new job to support their families.

It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to let people know.