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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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Sharing your Facebook Password Violates Others’ Privacy

You’ve probably heard all the commotion regarding employers that are requesting Facebook passwords from job candidates so they can take a peek into their personal life. This would allow the hiring director to see what’s been posted, as well as personal photos, games played, articles read, and what is routinely “liked.” Facebook’s counsel is threatening legal action. However, our federal government has decided it’s not worth making a law over. Tuesday night, House Republicans blocked a bill to make it illegal for employers to request social media passwords. What concerns me most about this Facebook password debate is not so much letting a future employer see what I’m saying online. That I don’t care about, because I’m pretty careful for the most part about what I post. I know that Facebook isn’t all that private. But I have friends and colleagues who tend to be a bit outspoken on all sorts of topics. Some of them cross the line from time to time.  And while they aren’t the one’s relinquishing their passwords, they are in a sense, having their privacy violated.  Giving away my password, allows their profiles to be reviewed as well, probably without their knowledge. And that’s not fair to my Facebook brethren.

Plus, I have to ask, if employers can get away with this, what’s next? They already monitor our credit and our urine. Now they want to look at our Facebook conversations and photos of funny cats? Don’t be surprised if they ask you to hand over your checking account records so they can question a late night ATM withdrawal or debit card purchase. Or maybe they’ll seek permission from your grocer to see what you buy every week with that loyalty card of yours. Baby diapers? Pregnancy tests? Cigarettes? Beer? Where will it end?

It’s up to you if you want to hand over your password to a nosy employer. Remember, however, in doing so you are violating Facebook’s policy, and violating your friends’ privacy as well.

 

 

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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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Facebook Games – Play with Caution

Do you participate in games on Facebook? Did you hear the news this week about the breach that allows 3rd parties to access your Facebook ID? The Wall Street Journal did an investigation and shut down the offending sites. Apparently Farmville, Frontierville, and a few others were at issue. Around 70% of Facebook users apparently participate in these activities.

The bigger question for me is “how do employers feel about these games?” I know that when I had a person from high school who I hadn’t spoken to in decades friend me, I thought it was cool. Until I realized all she was interested in was gaming. I shut the games off, but I’m still her friend on FB.

That being said I’ve seen other people who only play games on Facebook and I’m scratching my head wondering if employers see this activity as a “time suck.” Do recruiters perceive these people as time wasters if all they do is play games? I don’t know. Maybe I’m being judgmental. But on the other hand, if I question it, maybe others do too. Are games better or worse than those who just post status updates and share goofy videos?

All I’m saying is, if you’re looking for a job and you participate in games on Facebook, and no one is returning your calls for a job, that may be the issue. Comments from employers and game players are welcome. I’d certainly like to know.

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Blog Career Facebook Job Search Advice Uncategorized Work

Facebook Rants can Hurt Your Reputation

A few months ago I recall reading on TVSpy.com about a Texas News Reporter who got some negative feedback from a viewer. The reporter posted it on Facebook. Needless to say he got a lot of sympathy from friends who also made disparaging remarks about the said individual, who was by the way, NAMED in the post. The viewer got wind of it, contacted the station and made a fuss, and long story short it made the newspapers.

Fast forward to a job interview a few months later, and the reporter had to explain the lesson he learned from the incident because the interviewer read all about it on Google. Talk about embarrassing, but hey, the Internet and Facebook are much like the Wild West, which requires careful navigation and learning from others mistakes. The reporter was lucky that the station forgave him and offered him a job.

I follow a lot of media professionals on Facebook and today my mouth dropped when I read that a news anchor was annoyed when a “FB Friend” called her out at the supermarket and claimed she was ignoring the “friend.” Why she decided to post it on her FB page, and include the man’s name had me question her judgement. I can understand her frustration, and I’m not taking sides here. But it seemed to me she needed to explain her side of the story to the man who felt slighted, not the rest of us.

I sent her a private message concerned for her reputation and suggested she just remove the post. She responded that she was in the right, station management knew about it, and supported her in this incident. Now I’m not sure I want to watch a newscast knowing the news team is out to ruin the reputation of someone who perhaps had a bad day. It obviously affected hers. The station could be subjected to a defamation lawsuit.

I’ve learned two things about arguing with idiots:
1.  Don’t stoop to conquer.
2.  Don’t get in a pissing match with a skunk, or you’ll both end up smelling bad.

Always remember your reputation is on the line with anything you post on the Internet. Facebook isn’t as private as you think.

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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