Monday, July 16, 2007

Summer Job

Even though some branches of the federal government have been very critical of file-sharing and social networking sites, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission EEOC has used a range of strategies aimed at peer-to-peer exchanges to disseminate information including a website, Youth@Work, which has its own YouTube Channel. One of the informational videos uses common techniques of YouTube rhetoric and at the end shows young people at the San Francisco office involved in media production techniques. The agency is also seeking user-generated content via a YouTube contest, as this video from an intern shows. According to news reports, the EEOC group also plans to use MySpace to publicize the rights of young workers, particularly to combat sexual harassment of naive teen workers, which can also involve the violation of multiple civil and criminal laws.

In my teens and early twenties, I had a range of harassing bosses in my earliest work experiences. Looking back, it is clear that they exploited my relative inexperience and lack of trust in and knowledge of the law, which I carried with me for years despite my Ivy League pedigree. They included a boss who fired one of my co-workers for being pregnant, even though it had no bearing on her job performance, a boss who insisted on showing me photos of nude women posed on his office couch, and one who wouldn't give me a recommendation letter unless I agreed to go out with him on a date. Sadly, in the last case, I felt pressured into going, even though he was over twice my age in addition to being my employer. Fortunately, I was able to close the door on him as he attempted a truly icky good night kiss.

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