9 Ways Facebook Could Cost You Your Job
Social networking has become a virtual requirement for today’s entrepreneur and small business owner, both online and “brick and mortar” alike. For many individuals it is a small sacrifice to make; especially since participating on social networks can be quite enjoyable, entertaining, and financially lucrative.
That being said, as with the saying “there are two sides to every story”, so to is there with social media. The bad news is that it is possible to lose a job over, or because of, social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Four Square.
The temptation to nevertheless make use of the platform is made simple with the advent of 4G Technology, which makes these sites available from anywhere and at any time. If you are an active Facebook user, consider these nine ways that participation on the site could cost you your job – and then take the appropriate precautions to prevent this from happening.
Loose lips sink ships and end careers.
Social media guru Jeff Bullas recounts the tale of an Atlanta cop who discussed job details that his employer did not consider fit for public consumption. It is easy to take it a step further. Gossiping about the boss, criticizing the latest marketing department scheme, or taking to task a fellow employee for less than good behavior could quite easily cross the line. You don’t have to be Facebook friends with the manager for the boss to find out; “helpful” coworkers with an ax to grind against you will be more than happy to forward screenshots of your posts to the appropriate individuals.,/li>
Illegal behavior while on the job is a job killer.
Do you travel while doing your job? Perhaps you install satellite systems, sell electrical components or chauffeur clients to and from appointments. Several states have outlawed texting while driving, and if your Facebook updates seem to occur consistently while you are on the road on business, there is a good chance that the boss will be interested. Adding insult to injury, if you decide to text about being stuck in rush hour traffic – while being there – the odds are good that the boss will take corrective action. Depending on your personnel file, it may be the ticket out of a job. Remember: if the company sees you as a potentially costly liability, it cannot afford to employ you any longer.
Skirting fiduciary duty gets you nothing.
Teachers post nasty comments about their students; financial planners make fun of their fiscally illiterate clients; doctors mock patients. Fiduciary duty rules dictate that professionals with confidentiality clauses in their contracts must not violate the public’s trust. Going against this trust and either identifying clients by name, a combination of initials and identifiers that make it obvious who the individual might be, and of course the mentioning of agency or school names all serve to skirt fiduciary duty. Depending on the nature of the breach, the next posting you are making may be an update from “employed at” to “actively seeking work.”
Hide the beer bong if you are a professional.
The worker at the tuna cannery does not have to worry much about posting photos of a beer bong during various stages of personal drunkenness. For the high school teacher, public servant and corporate professional, this is a dangerous gamble. As outlined by Yahoo!, Arlington Mayor Carmen Kontur-Gronquist posted some racy photos of her honor on the town’s fire engine. Adding them to her private MySpace profile, she was certain that nobody would see them. Well, everyone did. The same holds true for anyone relying on Facebook privacy settings that are notorious for not keeping out everyone the user believes to hide from.
Don’t assume your boss doesn’t read your comments.
If you made the mistake of “friending” your boss, manager or supervisor on Facebook, do not assume that he is not reading your posts. Plenty of Facebook users are “lurkers,” who rarely post but frequently read their news feeds. Even if they do not click “like” or comment, they still know what others are saying.
Peers are competition.
Even if the boss is not a consistent Facebook user, the cubicle worker next to you might have an eye on your news feed. This is especially true if workplace feuds are being continued on Facebook and other social media platforms. Do not be surprised if a coworker – perhaps with an eye on your job – will tell on you. Charges of cyber-bullying could spell an end to your career.
Conflicting resume and Facebook profile information spells trouble.
According to Interview IQ, it is a deadly mistake to have a fanciful resume that your Facebook profile outs as being a fabrication. If you claim to be an English-born Harvard graduate, but your Facebook profile identifies you as a Kansas-native who is still working on a two-year degree from the local community college, a would-be employer may choose to pass. The company will most likely not be interested in your explanation.
Farming during working hours is a no-no.
Do you play Farmville, Farmtown, Vampire Wars, Mafia Wars or any one of the copious social networking games that make Facebook so much fun? The boss may be surprised to see your sharing crop bushels and gasoline drops on the profile – while you are on the clock. If you must play around on Facebook, avoid working hours. You don’t think employers have caught on yet? Consider that Metrolic has already gathered statistics on the subject; 14 percent of workers cop to the productivity losses they experience due to Internet use. Don’t think that the bosses are not aware!
Liking some of the groups you initially joined.
As a Facebook newbie, you probably liked everything and everyone. Membership on those pages and in these groups can now come back to bite you. Clean up your profile so that the boss does not see you as a liking several political groups that simply do not mesh with the corporate philosophy.
Guest Post by William Harwood