About a year ago, I read an article you wrote that had something to do with losing your job on the Internet. I remember it was very good and I’d like to share it with my son who just landed his first job since graduating from college in May. Thanks. Mr. M.
The article is “The Internet: Seven Ways to Lose Your Job,” and appears here with the generous permission of one of the most gifted writers of this era. (Hey, it’s my column.) Be forewarned and enjoy!
1. Waste company time online. Is a further explanation required? I think not. When you’re at work, on company time, don’t be posting to Facebook or tweeting. Remember that anything you do on a company computer can legally be viewed by your employer. Anything.
2. Post selfies. It’s hard to believe, but countless doofuses (doofi?) post pictures of themselves engaged in activities ranging from various stages of undress, to being drunk, consuming drugs, breaking-and-entering or destroying property. Clearly, stupidity has no limits.
3. Confront other employees. Within social media, one’s work life and one’s personal life often converge. Facebook skirmishes have been known to spill over into the real world. In addition, some dimwits feel empowered to post things online that they would never have the nerve to say face to face. Restraint is a virtue.
4. Look for a job. Don’t publicly post on Facebook that you hate your current job and are desperately looking for a new one. And for heaven’s sakes, don’t do it during work hours, on a company-owned computer.
5. Violate company policy. This is one of the most common ways people get fired as a result of their online activity. They get a little loose-lipped and post information about a project they are working on, or other work-related endeavor, thus failing to honor a corporate non-disclosure agreement. Big mistake.
6. Lack of common sense. Calling in sick, then going to play golf and posting photos on Instagram, or calling your boss vile names and posting it on Facebook when your boss has “friended” you, is incredibly stupid, yet it happens frequently. Your boss can fire you if he or she reads something on Facebook that you allegedly said, even if you didn’t post it yourself.
7. Post something inappropriate. Write something negative about your employer anywhere online, with your name associated with it, and you could be in big trouble. Many employers require employees to sign a corporate social media policy which pretty much boils down to, “Say anything bad about us and you will be terminated.” (Snap!)
All of the above pitfalls can easily be avoided with a little common sense, integrity and just a splash of dignity and self-respect. Unfortunately, these are commodities that are in increasingly short supply today within the general public and in online life today.