FaceBook Got Me Fired

Have fresh breath, but don’t chew gum; make eye contact, but don’t stare. Get on Mapquest the night before, and do a dry run. Establish personal space and respect its boundaries; learn how to execute the perfect handshake (check breath again).

Used to be, having ample people skills and following a few thoughtful tips was enough to ace any job interview. Now, guarding against chive breath and limp-wristed handshakes seems quaint. It’s a new frontier out there on the job market, so when a potential employer gestures to the empty desk with an open laptop on it, and says, “I’d like you to log in to your FaceBook page in front of me so we can both review it together,” have a canned response prepared.

Mashable has some very intelligent suggestions on how to artfully navigate this tough new terrain.

And while we all agree that employers monitoring FaceBook during work hours is a reasonable practice, what about monitoring what we do when we’re not at work?

As discussed in an earlier post, “FaceBook Robbed my House,” a recent Consumer Reports study confirms that with nearly 5 million FaceBook users publishing detailed daily plans, we are merely alerting thieves when our homes are unoccupied. Millions more posted or “Liked” personal information relating to health care issues, making them easy marks for insurance companies and discriminating employers. 20 million users posted a picture of a family member, of the inside of their home, their possessions, listed their sexual orientation, political and religious affiliations, eating habits, drinking habits, and in some cases, that irretrievable errant comment leading to their dismissal.

When a Day at the Beach is no Picinic

Tilting down her beach umbrella to shade her iPad from the sun’s glare, Brenda thinks to herself, “Finally, a day off!” With her Coffee Coolatta sweating safely on the corner tab of her blanket, she rolls over, plucks an apple from her bag, chomps it, and without giving it a thought, starts chatting up one of her friends on FaceBook.

“Hmm..Sharon’s at Target with the kids-she’ll hate this, ‘Hey Sharon, guess where I am? Needed a little ME time today, so I called in sick (stomach virus LOL!) and went to the beach. Tee-Hee, are you jealous?”

Ten minutes later, her new FaceBook App chimes; she’s got a notification. Fanning herself with the flap of her iPad cover as she waits for her FaceBook page to load, she sees two flies feasting on her discarded apple core, and nudging it with her toe, scatters them. “Someone Commented on Your Post,” it reads on her alert. Clicking it, Brenda is about to find out that there are far worse things in the FaceBook universe than getting Farmville Requests; it’s a message from her boss.

“Brenda, did you forget you friended me on here six months ago?” How’s your stomach? Take as much ‘Me time’ as you need-you’re fired.”

Something similar to this actually happened to a woman in New Zealand. Supposedly suffering from migraines, she called in sick saying she needed to stay home in a dark quiet room. Hours later, sun-drenched and giddy, she was fired via FaceBook.

Your FaceBook Page vs. Your Job: How to keep both.

  • Stop reporting on yourself and your whereabouts

FaceBook is about socializing, not broadcasting. Stop treating your FaceBook like it’s the portal to your own personal reality show.

  • Be aware of time and context when posting

Tasked to complete a big project for work over the weekend? Probably not a good idea to show too much on-line activity when you’re supposed to be working. Don’t post at 2 a.m. on weeknights or Sundays, and always be careful of context. Ask yourself, “Absent its present context, how will this post be interpreted a week, a month, a year from now?”

  • Never comment about work, alcohol, race, drugs, sex, religion or politics

Sound boring? Scouting for a new job will certainly spice things up.

Imagine corralling your boss, his bosses, your colleagues and your clients all into one room and passing around pictures of you drinking in a bar, drawing swastikas in magic marker on an intoxicated friend, complaining about your Monday morning hangovers, telling them you think Obama’s an idiot, that Chinese people aren’t as smart as everyone thinks, that you were up all night playing, “Angry Birds,” that you spend sick days on the beach, and then, staring down your boss, you let him know you think he’s a wanker. Here’s a list of 17 people who were subsequently fired for essentially doing just that via FaceBook.

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This entry was posted in February 2011, Social Media and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to FaceBook Got Me Fired

  1. Pingback: Cloture Club Smash Mouth Politics: Hayworth vs Maloney - Cloture Club

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