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How Facebook Can Affect Your Job

How Facebook Can Affect Your Job

Can you brand yourself into a dead end job by what you write on Facebook?  Absolutely!  Even if you have all your privacy settings set up so that “only friends” can read your page, you still run great risk of hurting your reputation in the company if you have coworkers as friends on Facebook.

Much talk about Facebook and jobs includes advice about how people should not state how they hate their job, their boss, or their company. Other advice is along the lines of watching what type of photos you might post.  However, you can say a whole lot about yourself without ever mentioning your job or your company.  You can say things on Facebook that will never get you fired, but without a word said, will kill your chances of advancement in a company.

But I Don’t Talk About My Job on Facebook!

When a company is looking for their future leaders, they are looking for highly professional individuals with high levels of integrity and work ethic.  They are looking for leaders and these leaders do not post things on Facebook like ,”Why is that slut still on Dancing with the Stars?”  Or “My stupid kid never listens to me.  I am throwing him into bed and then off to have a few shots.” Sure, that might be how you feel, but are these the types of statements that would come from a high-level leader?  What types of pages on Facebook do you “like”?  That also says a lot about who you are.

These are examples of how you can write something completely unrelated to work and still destroy your reputation.  What you say online can represent who you are as a person, and that matters!

But I Was Careful When I Chose My Facebook Friends…

You may have gone to great measures to assure that you only have the “right” coworkers as friends. Because of that, you might feel safe to be a bit freer with what you say.  However, one day, a coworker posts something on his or her page and you make an off the cuff, rather unprofessional comment on the post.  The problem is, you don’t know who, from the company, that person is friends with and can read your comment.   Leaving comments on coworkers’ Facebook pages must be done responsibly in order to avoid having any reasonable person start questioning your overall level of professionalism.

Other common things I have seen employees post on Facebook are things like “I am so tired, I wish I was home”, or “I can’t wait until this week is over.” Employees need to realize that leaders in companies need to show that they love their job. If you often post how you wish you were elsewhere or how you wish your week was over so you can get to the weekend, then you are not showing that you are leadership material. On a very basic level, a manager level (or above) employee should never post things like that on Facebook if coworkers can see it.  It is a morale killer.  If you ever want to be a manager, I would refrain from posting statements that make it look like you would rather be anywhere but at work.

Face it- no matter how professional you are at work, you can lose a whole lot of respect by how you handle yourself on Facebook. Your boss does not have to be your Facebook friend for you to get into trouble, because people talk.  Worse yet, one of your coworker/Facebook friends may be promoted to be your boss someday!

On the other side of this argument, you absolutely can use Facebook to leverage yourself in the company.  Go ahead and  “friend” your boss and many coworkers, and intentionally post things that will make them think highly of you. You can post industry related material with great commentaries or very positive things (“Great day today!  Big project at work is going along well and I cannot wait to see the results of it!”).   Use it to your advantage!

It is up to you how you use Facebook but make sure you use it responsibly if anyone from work can read your page. If you have coworkers as friends, your best bet is to either eliminate them and completely separate your business and personal life or to use Facebook responsibly.  You do not have to promote your job or the company, but just being level headed, witty, and lighthearted will be the key to maintaining a professional image on Facebook.

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