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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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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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Can Social Media Derail Your Career?

This blog could also be titled “How to alienate friends, and stay unemployed for a very long time.”

I’ve been involved with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for nearly a decade when I joined Linkedin on the advice of a client who was an early adopter. A few years later I found myself exploring Twitter and Facebook and secured my handles while they were still available. Since then, I’ve been an active user of the 3, and learned about the most annoying behaviours, what turns off employers, and causes people to unfriend you or disconnect. If you want to stay happily engaged on social media and keep your prospects open to further your career, learn how to behave in cyberspace.

1. Avoid being preachy, whether it’s your love or hate for the president, or your deep religious faith, there is an extremely good chance you’ve got cyber-friends who don’t feel the same way. Some people have told me “I don’t care, it’s who I am and I won’t hide it.” That’s perfectly fine, however if sometime in the future you’re job hunting, you could be discriminated against for your beliefs without your knowledge. It can freak out future HR Managers who fear of politicking and proselytizing in the workplace. Politics and religions should not be discussed in polite company anyway. The same goes for Facebook.

2. Watch the extreme details about your health issues. I understand if you need prayers for an ailment, just keep the dirty details to yourself. For one, it’s illegal for employers to ask if you have any health issues prior to hiring you. So, why would you want to publicize that information? I’ve had people tell me they only share this type of information with a select few (like 100 others!) and then can’t understand that once it’s public, it’s OK to share, and people do! Employers could become skeptical about whether you’re healthy enough to work.

3. Family squabbles need to be kept in the family. I’ve seen husbands and wives argue on a Facebook page! Or worse, a wife berating her husband about what a lazy ass he is. That shows more about your discretion of private matters than it does your husband’s laziness and that makes companies fear you won’t be discrete with their secrets either. Plus, they don’t like a lot drama in their workplace.

Facebbok Dont 9

4. Don’t critique your job interviews. Better yet, don’t even announce you have a job interview. Doing so not only creates competition, and again, it tells future managers you reveal too much information on meetings that should be kept private, even if you don’t mention names. I’ve seen a few (long term) job seekers continuously bad mouth interviewers, some even mentioning the name of the company, and post it in LinkedIn group forums, Facebook, and on twitter.

 

Facebook DONT

5. Posting long diatribes of your inner most thoughts is another way to derail your career. Some things are just made for a journal.
 

 

 

 

 

Facebook DONT 4

6. Don’t post evidence of drug use. Really do I have to explain it?
 

 

 

7. Guilting your cyber-friends into sharing and posting pictures and memes “even if it’s just for an hour” tends to make some people uncomfortable.  Requests for help with moving followed by “we’ll see who my real friends are” may find themselves extremely disappointed.

8. Gaming. If you spend the majority of your time on Facebook playing games, keep in mind that time is trackable. Employers might get the idea you have an addiction to Candy Crush and wonder about priorities or productivity.

9. Complaining about how broke you are, only to post photos a week later of your new car, recent vacation, a new tattoo, or stylish hair and nails. Regardless of how your acquired these things, the perception is you don’t know how to manage your money.

Anything you post on social media can be used against you. So if you’ve been unemployed for a really long time – perhaps it’s time to either shut down your account altogether or at the very least, go in a remove any offending posts.

 

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Freedom From Workplace Bullies

October 16 through October 22 is Freedom from Workplace Bullies Week, sponsored by the Workplace Bullying Institute. Thank God this organization exists. Someone needed to shed light on this growing problem in the USA, especially in this economy. Why? Because I’ve seen so many hard working and talented people who are unemployed, while a Workplace Bully gets to keep his job. Or I see people stay in jobs and take the abuse, out of fear they won’t find another. And in my opinion, that’s wrong on so many levels.

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You Get More with Carrots than you do with Sticks

I’m reading a book this week on employee engagement and how to motivate employees to love working for you. Throughout my career I have worked for some wonderful companies, one of them was Buck Owens Broadcasting, another was America West Airlines. Both of these organizations understood that praise and reward are much better motivators in the workplace, than fear and punishment. Tyranny builds resentment and erodes loyalty and commitment. Sad to say, not all managers understand that. These are the people who feel the need to watch their employees every move to find fault so they can “start a file” on them. Any positive performance is either said privately (if at all) or awarded in writing to the entire team on a job “well done.” But none that is documented in your personnel file.

When I worked for KNIX in Phoenix, we had lavish holiday parties, quarterly get-togethers (with lots of free alcohol), and a gym on the premises. Buck and his sons wanted us to be happy employees. And we were! Ratings and revenues soared and we broke all kinds of company records. There was so much love in that building, you could just feel it.

It wasn’t like that at a few of my other radio jobs. At one place, the management promised listeners meet and greet parties with the announcers, but then didn’t include the air staff. Instead, the managers brought their spouses, leaving listeners to wonder who are these people, and the deejays feeling slighted. The environment in that building was stifling; and workers were always complaining and resentful. That in turn made the manager even more paranoid, turning the place into one giant viper pit, and worker against co-worker. Then with all the rudeness going on, there were additional opportunities for the manager to write up the employees. It was hell.

I forgot about these experiences until I started reading Finding Happiness, by Todd Patkin. In Chapter 12: titled “Treat Them Like Kings,” Patkin outlines why it’s in every managers best interest to treat their employees well, rather than reprimand and criticize them at every turn.

From my experience, Patkin is right. I am a firm believer that a fish rots from the head first.

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Keep Your Resume off the Company Copier

Have you ever photocopied your resume (or taxes) or any other private information using your company copier? If you’re required to punch in a code and your copier is attached to a computer network — BEWARE! Your boss can monitor everything you photo copy or print out from your computer.

I spoke to a former copier salesman today and we discussed this very issue. He told me that supervisors, HR departments, or anyone who monitors your company’s copier activities can have access to everything you photo copy. Do you really want them to know about your personal assets? Or that you’re brushing up your resume? Filing a bankruptcy or selling your home? Probably not.

Photocopies come cheap at places like FedEx (formerly Kinkos) or your local Office Max. You can also  buy a printer/scanner and do all these activities in the privacy of your own home.

This tip is provided by 1st Rate Resumes.

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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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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!!!