Today, the unthinkable happened. I was going about my day as usual, doing some admin, getting involved in some discussions on social media… last thing I remember is reading a post on LinkedIn from someone in my network. Then I refreshed my feed and… I was asked to log back in. I thought “that’s weird” but I did it. At which point I discovered…
…my account has been blocked.
If you try and look for me on the platform, you won’t find me there. I basically don’t exist on LinkedIn anymore.
As I am writing this down, I am still trying to process what happened. I thought perhaps the best way to process it would be to write down what I’m feeling… I vaguely remember from a psychology class that this has a more therapeutic efect than simply talking things out. If this ever happened (or happens) to you, I hope this makess you feel less alone. If you haven’t… just remember, none of us are safe. You might have to go through this too one day – although I wish you never will.
I realised I needed to better understand my feelings, so I decided to look for some resources. I found an article about The 7 Stages of Grieving a Breakup from Psychology Today. Here’s what I found.
“You fought to hold on to the relationship to the point of being all-consumed. You don’t want to believe it’s actually ending. You can’t believe it. Even if the relationship was awful, even unbearable at times, the idea of living without it is unacceptable. “
Oh wow, I thought. How do they know?! This is EXACTLY what happened! It wasn’t even an exclusive relationship, I think that was clear on both sides. I had a relationship with Facebook and Twitter and GoldenLine and… so many other platforms all at the same time. I kept telling myself things are not that serious, and yet finding out it’s over felt like the world as I know it has ended…
Clearly the lady who wrote the article understands exactly what I’m going through, I thought, so I should find out more about these 7 stages. Here we go:
(quick warning: this isn’t an entirely serious post, but my pain is real, just in case LinkedIn actually have a look – I DO want to get back together!)
1. Desperate for Answers
Spot on! The very first thing that came to my mind was “why oh why did this happen to me?! what could I have possibly done to deserve this?!” and I went through a checklist in my head. There were some rules in our relationship, you see. I mean LinkedIn had their rules… they made it clear I was one of many and if I didn’t follow them, they would simply continue their relationship with the other 500 million users but not me.
Chrome plugins and extentions? No I’m not using any… none that have any impact on LinkedIn anyway! That one can’t be it…
Reviewing too many profiles? No I don’t even bother ever since I’m not sourcing anymore… I encourage others to do it instead, in training. Of course they are all safe as their relationship with LinkedIn is different. You see they pay to be together… anyway I’m sure that can’t be it either…
Sending out too many connection requests? I can honestly say no, I haven’t really needed to in a while as I’ve been inundated with incoming requests recently. Not it…
Could I be blocked for accepting too many invitations to connect? Logging into my account from both my laptop and my phone? Maybe I moved my laptop and connected to a different wifi by accident, that would mean I connected from a different IP address wouldn’t it?! Maybe I said something about them they didn’t like?!
Wait, this must be a mistake, this can’t be really happening, not to me! Yes, checked, felt that too. I’ll just refresh the page and everything will be ok… no? Ok maybe I need to try to log in again… no? Ok you know what, I’ll just disconnect from wifi and then try again… turn the computer off and on again?! Nothing seems to be working but this simply CAN’T be true!
What can I do to change this?! I need to do something. Anything… well ok not anything. It just so happens that the only thing I wouldn’t do is the one thing they want me to do: send over my passport or ID. Which doesn’t seem fair – I have to verify it’s really me even though I can’t verify the people on the other side actually work for LinkedIn, or that they are who they say they are, or in fact that I have done anything to deserve this. The wording of the message I got was that my behaviour MAY violate their TOS. So if they’re ok with blocking my account without knowing for sure that I did anything wrong, why aren’t they ok accepting this is really me without asking for something as ridiculous as my passport to do so?
Yeah ok that one didn’t happen. But that’s not because I wasn’t trying to, oh no. I spent a good couple of hours trying to figure out how I could win LinkedIn back. I actually went to Facebook to find the answers, imagine the irony… but not even the amazing people of Recruiters Online could help me figure out a way to get LinkedIn back. They did however help me go through steps 1 again in way more detail. I discovered the hidden depths of how I could have potentially been out of line. This actually helped, I didn’t feel so alone anymore. But LinkedIn remained completely unaware of how badly I wanted to get back…
That’s exactly when I started getting angry. How dare they do this to me?! I thought. I don’t deserve this. They’re being unfair. I can’t even call them up or email them to let them know exactly how much this hurt me. I am not sending them anything! I’m not asking them fr anything! I’ll survive without them! It must be possible to live without LinkedIn, even source without it! People do it on the phone. They do it on other platforms. I can be one of those people. In fact, I’ll just give up on sourcing altogether. I’ll go be a waitress somewhere but I’m NOT talking to them again.
6. Initial Acceptance
I have to be honest, I’m still getting there. Sometimes it feels like I’m already there, but then I go back through all the previous steps of the process… it seems though like everything is going according to plan. The blog post that guides me through the steps says this:
This is the kind of acceptance that, when it happens early in the process, can feel more like surrender. You are holding up your end of the breakup because you have to, not because you want to.
Yes I’m afraid that’s right. I don’t really want to break up but… it takes two to tango. I can’t even talk to LinkedIn how am I going to remind them of what first brought us together? Of how good things were before they got bad? Well… I guess since I can’t do any of that, I will in time accept this new situation…
7. Redirected Hope
I guess over time I’m supposed to be able to imagine life without LinkedIn. I’ll be able to see the value of other potential relationships… Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blog… All I can do for now is hope that’s true…
…either that or go back to step number 3, break and send through my passport. But I guess that very demand proves it was an abusive relationship and I should try to stay strong.
In the back of my mind I can’t stop hoping I’ll wake up tomorrow and discover none of this actually happened and it was all a bad dream…