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Don’t air Your Dirty Laundry on Social Media

Tonight I watched in disbelief as a social media page in my hometown blew up with accusations against a corporate restaurant that specializes in “all you can eat” buffet style cuisine. Apparently a woman took her daughter out for her birthday along with her mother and got bad service. She posted photos, and videos online because her mother was accused by the waitress of putting food in her purse. At buffet restaurants, you can’t take home the leftovers. The manager also approached the table and the woman started recording the encounter on her phone.

She posted the video on a Community Facebook page with 35,000 followers, where she called out the waitress and manager by name. Also included was a very long-winded story with all the sordid details. She was pissed off that her mother was accused of theft and called 911. I’m sure any of us would be angry to be falsely accused of theft, although calling 911 is a bit over the top since 911 is supposed to be used for life and death emergencies. But that’s not the issue here. I’m cringing over the fact she immediately went public on Facebook and it went viral, forcing the company to issue a statement. According to the thread, there may even be a lawsuit.

Our local TV station picked up the story, and now the incident will live for a very long time on page one of Google, easily searchable to a future employer. Many of the followers on the Facebook page are demanding that the manager and waitress be fired. Maybe they should. I don’t know, I wasn’t there and I don’t work with them or eat at their restaurant.

What I do know is the manager, the named waitress, AND the woman who decided to go public over this slight will probably be looking for a job in the future. It may not be right away, but at one time or another, we’re in the job market. And any astute HR manager will find this story online during the background check and move on to the next candidate. No one wants drama in the workplace regardless of who was at fault during the incident. It’s a HUGE distraction.

Stop Complaining online
Photo by Omar Prestwich on Unsplash

Don’t Stoop to Conquer.

Mistakes happen. If someone accused me of wrongdoing, the last thing I would do is publicize it for the world to know. Even if I was right. Airing dirty laundry can get very stinky. Now the credibility of the waitress, the manager, and the accuser are all in question. When you get in a pissing match with a skunk, you all smell bad.

Social media has become the judge and jury of these arguments, and frankly, no one wins. Not the accuser. Not the company. Not the employees. The problem should have been handled better, that’s for sure. But making these situations public can negatively impact one’s career. The accuser will learn that the hard way.

Before you post your drama online, look far into the future. Would you want this to affect your ability to find a good job?

A scorned woman wants revenge. A strong woman moves on. How one handles them-self in these situations speaks volumes.

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Don’t Let Facebook Ruin Your Career

Last week I was at a trade show in Las Vegas chatting with some fellow vendors about Facebook. The guy I was talking to at our booth “doesn’t do Facebook” and I understand why. I mentioned that someone in my list of Facebook Friends had been going through a public meltdown, describing intimate details of her broken marriage and fighting with her husband on her page. I had told this person the last time she did it to knock it off. Facebook is not your diary, and it could jeopardize your career. My co-worker at the trade show, a magazine publisher was listening in but had no comment.

A few hours later, the publisher I was working with asked me if I would like to sell advertising for her online magazine, which I had to decline because as a journalist, I tend to keep those things separate. Plus, it was a kids’ magazine, a target demo I know little about. That being said, I started to tell her about someone I knew who would be perfect. “This woman could sell sand at the beach,” I said, and I mentioned she had experience in broadcast advertising and had several kids of her own. She was looking for a work from home job. The magazine publisher was interested, but then I had to tell her the God’s honest truth. The person I was speaking about was the same person I spoke of earlier who was trashing her estranged husband all over Facebook. “No thanks,” said the publisher. “It sounds as if she has no boundaries. But thanks anyway.”

So there you have it. Just because you have a lot of friends on Facebook, and you think your page is private, it really isn’t. And if there’s one particular thing I learned at this convention is that “we all have a brand, whether we want one or not.” Don’t let your brand be tarnished by a foolish rant on Facebook. Every day is your job interview, and you have no idea how many opportunities are wasted because or your own self-published comments.

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Should you Link Out of Linked In?

A conversation was started with one of my Facebook friends today questioning the validity of Linkedin. “to me it’s pointless,” he wrote, and was asking for help on how to shut down his account and “link out.” Because my friend has a heap of influential and quite funny Facebook followers, the responses were coming in like a frenzy, all dissing on Linkedin. Has the shine finally come off the polish?

Some of the quotes were indicative of the negative feelings of Linkedin:

Where else can people endorse you for skills you don’t have?” became an early on favorite.

Another writes, “When you find the secret, please let me know. It’s the most pointless of the social media.

I’ve been restricted for years, they want me to upgrade for a special kind of abuse?

Meanwhile, my friend got directions on how to close his Linkedin Account., and then received a message that the fine folks at LI are reviewing his request. All while friends kept commenting on the uselessness of Linkedin and just how annoying it has become.

“Like the buttons you can inadvertently use to delete stuff you really need.”

Then came agreement from the original poster “oh yes, I’ve done that too. I am certified as a computer klutz!,” who added, “Now I’ve been notified that I have too many contacts to close down automatically. Someone from “Support” will be in touch soon. They should just have a “delete” option.”

People were agreeing with the OP, and adding they hated CAPTCHA, and that the rules were too stringent, and the company will hound you if you ever try to quit. It’s bad enough we get tons of junk mail from them, and it’s not easy to navigate where to turn off those broadcasts. Plus, and this is my biggest beef, there is no preview page. Everything you change on Linkedin goes live. That really sucks for the spelling and grammar challenged.

As I write this, more comments are coming in…..

I am amazed at the number of people I have lost touch with over the years who are “suggested” by the Linked system. I mean a step daughter from a woman in the 80’s??? Come on!

I just contacted linkedIn & asked them to delete my account because it is just so stupid to belong to a group of people who only want me to either endorse them or write them a recommendation… I think they dumped me

Once u get in-u can never get out. Impossible to get out

“Its the Hotel California of the Internet. … you can check out any time you want, but you can never leave.”

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The Foibles of Facebook

I was looking for a former colleague the other day on Facebook and lo and behold I found him! Before asking to “friend” him I looked at his profile, and discovered that he was married, and listed his wife’s Facebook page. Apparently you can easily do that with FB.

Out of curiosity I clicked on his wife’s page which was totally available to the public, including all her comments, private life, and even details of a recent doctor’s visit. I was concerned. Not only for her health, but for the career health of her husband. What if he’s looking for a new job? Employers can and will find this information. What most people don’t realize is that HR Directors are wondering “how many people are we going to have to insure with this hire?” along with any other related health issues, etc. Facebook is not the place to be posting your biopsy results.

According to a recent Workforce Management magazine article titled “Five Trends in Employee Screening,” there is more scrutiny by employers of social networking sites. This article was not posted online, so I don’t have a link.

Don’t let the “privacy” button on Facebook fool you either. You can still be tagged in photos, and your comments on your friend’s pages

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Don’t Lie About Your Job History on Linkedin

This morning I received my usual email notice from Linkedin telling me what my connections are up to in their career.  I like to know how my friends, clients, and former co-workers are doing and drop them a line when I hear about a promotion or new job.

The note this morning urged me to congratulate “John Doe” on his work anniversary of three years at a well-known company. John was a former supervisor of mine many years ago when I worked in radio, so I went to his profile and started looking through his work history. I found it odd that the station we  both worked at during that time was not even listed. Worse, he listed a different radio station and location altogether! This made me wonder why he would even take that chance. Was it an honest mistake, or did he purposely revise history thinking no one would be the wiser?

Here’s the problem. John had about 50 co-workers during his time at that job so there’s at least 50 people in our industry who could place him there during that time frame and not at the station he listed. Further, he contributed quotes to music publications that linked him to our station. And he was known by competitors in our market, so that adds even more who can refute his Linkedin job history.

Another concern is for those of us who worked with him. Granted, it was 20+ years ago, but if I ever wanted to use him as a reference, Linkedin shows him not working there at all, which brings up the question, “who’s telling the truth?”

You don’t need to list every job on Linkedin, especially those from 20 years ago. But to give the impression you worked elsewhere when you didn’t can easily be challenged. And should his current employer get wind of this, he could seriously jeopardize his job.

Thanks to the Internet, it’s no longer easy to fudge dates or your past. Don’t do it.

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My Love Hate Relationship with Facebook

I’ve been on Facebook now for about two years, and I’m hooked on it. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. You see, I have an eclectic group of friends whom I love dearly in many different ways, and know from different areas of my life, like high school, college, a handful of clients from the past 10 years, and people I know from roller skating. Facebook gives me visibility for my business. But it also sucks up a lot of my time. While I enjoy seeing what my friends are up to, I tend to see things I don’t want to see, like people arguing. eschewing heavy political discourse; you know those things you don’t discuss in polite company. 

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The Foibles of Facebook

I was looking for a former colleague the other day on Facebook and lo and behold I found him! Before asking to “friend” him I looked at his profile, and discovered that he was married, and listed his wife’s Facebook page. Apparently you can easily do that with Facebook.

Out of curiosity I clicked on his wife’s page which was totally available to the public, including all her photos, comments, private life, and even details of a recent doctor’s visit. I was concerned. Not only for her health, but for the career health of her husband. What if he’s looking for a new job? Employers can and will find this information. What most people don’t realize is that HR Directors are wondering “how many people are we going to have to insure with this hire?” along with any other related health issues, etc. Facebook is not the place to be posting your biopsy results.

According to a recent Workforce Management magazine article titled “Five Trends in Employee Screening,” there is more scrutiny by employers of social networking sites. This article was not posted online, so I don’t have a link.

Don’t let the “privacy” button on Facebook fool you either. You can still be tagged in photos, and comments made to your friend’s pages can be made public.

In short: Don’t put anything in writing you wouldn’t want published on the front page of a national newspaper. Because in today’s transparent world, that is essentially what you are doing.

Best to you in your job search!

–Susan Geary / 1st Rate Resumes

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Think Before Bragging

This morning as I was whizzing past the television, I caught a glimpse of one of Tiger Woods’ alleged mistresses conducting an interview on one of the national morning shows. The first thing I thought to myself was “good luck in your future job search.” I hope she invests any money she makes off this news event, or plans on self-employment. That’s because she might have a really difficult time getting a job. Don’t get me wrong, it is possible. But consider this. Recruiters will conduct a background check which also includes an internet search engine. What do you expect to come up? I SLEPT WITH TIGER WOODS AND TOLD EVERYONE ABOUT IT!

In today’s digital world, it’s easier than ever to track down information on anyone. Keep that in mind before you brag about your transgressions.

–Susan Geary, CPRW / 1st Rate Resumes

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Employee Surveillance

Advances in Internet and computer technology have brought about increased surveillance in our lives, especially the workplace. Employers have the right to read our email, check what we’re surfing, and listen to our voicemails, without ever telling us. And that’s not the only place they’re watching.

Think about it for a moment. You arrive at work, put your security key card in the door and then sign in. Cameras watch and record you as you walk throughout the building, and how you interact with each other. Employers know how many photocopies and print outs you make a month (you have an employee code don’t you?), along with faxes, and long distance calls from your extension. They know if you’re in the building on a Saturday updating your resume on a company computer. And they can monitor everything you do with your handheld personal digital assistant, if they own it.

It seems that everything is being recorded in our lives. This includes, what we buy at Kroger, what we drive, where we shop, what we read, and where we work. Outside of the workplace, surveillance is a bit more voluntary. No one is forcing you to sign up for a Kroger Card, subscribe to LinkedIn, or Twitter your whereabouts. That’s your choice. But you need to know Twitter and MySpace make it much easier for your boss to track your personal activities.

Add podcasts, blogs, media coverage, government records, judgments, and death notices; and it’s clear to see that all of us will leave some sort of digital record behind after we depart the planet. It’s no wonder detectives track ATM, cell phone, and computer use, along with surveillance video to solve homicides. These folks can easily determine what we were doing just prior to getting whacked.

Don’t forget that anything you publish on the Internet (or in any form of writing for that matter) can come back to haunt you at a future date, especially during a job hunt. You are branding yourself; use careful consideration about everything you publish.

–Susan Geary, CERW / 1st Rate Resumes

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Big Brother and the Job Search

Now more than ever, you are being watched. And if you don’t believe me, here are two good examples.

1. An employee in Australia calls in for “a sickie” (that’s Aussie for sick day) after a hard night of partying. The boss reads his Facebook page to find out the truth as to why his employee couldn’t come into work. The employee admitted on line that he had a hangover. Ooops.

2. An intern at a Minnesota Television station causes a scene and attacks the Executive Producer after being fired. This intern’s name, along with the Executive Producer, was listed in a police report which made the local newspaper. Now when the intern goes job searching, this little tidbit will be easily googled. It doesn’t bode well for the person being attacked either.

Morale of the story: don’t behave in a way that you wouldn’t want the whole world to see on the front page of your local newspaper, because essentially, that’s what our lives have become with the advent of cell phone cameras, youtube, etc. Your boss is watching, and so are future employers.

Be careful out there!!!