According to this article, some employers not only are searching the internet for discouraging information on you, but a few companies have asked interviewees for their passwords to their social networking accounts.
What in holy Christ.
For many people, I think the choice would not be whether or not to give up this information. It would be whether or not to reply calmly, “Why do you want that?” or flipping the bird and walking out.
I accept that whatever I put on the internet has to be regarded as public knowledge. If I post it, it’s there for anyone to see. I might put a warning on it, or I might hide it behind an obscure or invisible link, but some search bot will find it and display it on search results. I accept that. Indeed, I’m more concerned about someone getting me mixed up with the other Mark Pritchards of the world than I am of someone finding something I did in the past. That’s because I’ve always lived an open life. I’m bisexual, I write porn, I go to church, I’ve done drugs in the past, I like singing, I used to be a high school teacher. All a matter of public record.
But my life at work is separate from all that. I hope people are adult enough to understand that. I’m not surprised that some fundamentalist Christian academy is not; that a Montana city behaves the same way is only a little less unsurprising. This is another reason I live in San Francisco.
But I mean: asking for your password?? People just have no shame.
Just got back from a late lunch and a coffee. There’s a cafe called Little Spot a block away. They have free wireless and that’s about all you can say for it; it’s extremely sleepy, run by a lanky, long-faced Arab guy in the afternoons. I go over there with my laptop when I need to get on the internet, since I usually can’t get a connection at my office.
I was over there just now and a fetching lass in her mid-20s came in and politely asked if there was wi-fi there. I said yes, and it’s free. I worked for another 15 minutes while she pulled out her own laptop and had coffee. When I was finished, as I was standing up and closing my laptop, I turned and asked the girl if she was visiting the area. No, she smiled, she had just signed a lease nearby. I introduced myself and she said her name was K. I only mention it because it’s been about 5 years since I last met a stranger in a cafe, and a lovely young lady at that. She had a dancer’s ponytail and was working some Capri-cut jeans.
I emailed V. and asked her if she would introduce me to the kink.com people. Of course there’s nothing stopping me from simply contacting them myself; they’re a public business, not a movie star.
OK, back to work. Let’s think about Hap, my protagonist — he’s the only character I don’t have much of a clear idea of. I don’t even know what his job is — and that’s very important to my conception of a main character.
Again, some brainstorming mixed with what I have already established about him:
- He was on the creative writing magazine in college. This suggests he has, at least, some notion of being a writer or creative person.
- He “has enough” and “is a happy man.” He’s satisfied in life.
- Therefore, he must have a problem that threatens him and his happy life. It must relate to a temptation that challenges who he really is.
- At some point, perhaps during college, “Don wasn’t very aware of Hap until he wanted something from Hap. Then he cynically tried to flatter and manipulate his way, and the extent to which he succeeded makes Hap ashamed even today, though Don doesn’t even remember it.”
- Denny dated the same girls, often stealing them from Hap. So they knew each other well.
- After college, Hap does a little freelance writing for the same alt.weekly that Shaun sells ads for.
- Right after college, Shaun dated someone whom Hap had also dated.
- The freelance writing thing doesn’t go so well, so Hap gets a job working for a large tech company similar to Sybase or Sun (we’ll call it BlueSky). He sort of works in product marketing on white papers and collateral.
- At some point he falls in with a hippie-nerd like crowd, and they take him to M.’s parties.
- The M. parties period takes place 1996-1999. Seth is also there, and Denny a little bit.
- Hap meets Bart at one of these parties. Later, Hap approached Bart for a job at Moment (even though he already knows Don).
- Denny betrays his friendship in the usual addict ways.
- Hap manages to miss both the highs and the lows of the dotcom bubble. He works for BlueSky all the way from 1995 to 2003 and then is laid off.
- Meanwhile, he runs into a woman he had been flirting with at a party, and she has someone else with her. This someone else, Kara, he marries in 1999.
- He buys a house in the Mission District, thereby becoming a symbol of what Shaun soon begins fomenting against.
- Hap’s marriage to Kara is marked by his infidelities. He is not a fantastic womanizer but this is the Bay Area and women are more available. Eventually Kara can’t take it any more and leaves him after four years, in 2003. So he gets divorced and laid off in 2003.
- He sells his half of the house to Kara and now lives in J.C.’s little flat in Bernal Heights.
- Things are kind of tight in 2003 and 2004, but toward the end of 2004 he gets another job very similar to his last one.
- His contentment comes from being single and having the freedom to bring girls home and not get tied down again. He isn’t ambitious, he makes a good salary, he has a good apartment; he doesn’t want to buy a house or have kids, he doesn’t want to work 70 hours a week at a startup.
- However, just before the book opens, he finds out that the house where his apartment is has been sold. There’s no way he will be able to afford another place in San Francisco without a large down payment and twice as much rent as he was paying. Therefore, the temptation to take a job with Dreedle is strong.
- Remember: he doesn’t like threats to his autonomy.
Well, that’s all very good. Evidently it’s easier than I thought for me to construct backstories for characters. With previous books I had generally had difficulty, but not so much here.
There might, however, be a whole level of emotional characterization I’m missing which I won’t discover until later.
I have created a huge chart on the wall with a timeline — a row for each year from 1992 to 2007, and columns for each character. It done with colorful post-its that tell what characters were doing, how they interacted, and so on.
Things I’m still missing:
- I describe an interaction between Don and Hap during or right after college, during which “Don cynically tried to manipulate Hap,” but I don’t really have a handle on it. I don’t know what happened. I need to come up with that.
- I need to come up with more temptations other than those offered by Don’s business. That is merely the most obvious.
- I need to know more about what Denny is doing as the book opens.