By now social media has infiltrated our lives enough that the average person should (and emphasis SHOULD) know the proper etiquette of sharing information, especially about the workplace. Every senior in high school has been lectured about the dangers of sharing TMI having an effect on their college admissions, and then once in college, they are constantly reminded of the grave dangers of Facebook posts and how they will ruin your chance at any potential future career.
Well I’m not talking about any of that blatantly obvious advice. True, don’t update your status with “Still so drunk from last night, I hope I washed that goat stench off” or “Hehehe let’s see if my boss wants a rewrite of that proposal once he opens the pipe bomb I sent him.” Offering up information that has the obvious potential (i.e., criminal activity) to damage your reputation and career is given, and if a person refuses to see that, then they don’t really deserve to be in a professional environment.
The issue – or phenomenon, if you will – that I am here to put an end to are all the bragtards out there who needlessly update their social media outlet of choice with, although work appropriate, pathetic accomplishments and antics of their job. I get it, you have job you are proud of and for good reason! Times are tough, jobs are tougher. But these updates are rarely aimed at their boss (who should not be their Facebook friend regardless), but at their peers in society such as friends, equal leveled coworkers, and former classmates, as to say “Neener neener neener” (cue whiney playground bully voice). You may not lose your job, but you might just lose a lot of followers and friends instead.
DON’T: Brag. Not only is it unattractive and ultimately counteractive to your goal (insecurities, anyone?), but many times what you think will blow your peers away will just make them roll their eyes.
EXAMPLE: I had a friend who posted a mobile photo of her desk, which was topped with two computer monitors. The paragraph–long caption detailed how they company insisted she embark on this riveting new technology that is dual monitors for her gratuitous amounts of work, the complexity of her job that only a true great mind like her could handle and made sure to include as much industry jargon as possible. She truely believed that her entry level position was one step away from owning the company. (She acutally confided to me at one point that she would most likely be promoted to exectutive in a rediculously short amount of time, which I pretended I couldn't hear over the microwave or wind blowing outside or the sharpening of the pencils I was about to shove in my eardrums.)
Now, this might have been something to be proud of, if she had come across remotely knowing what she was talking about. Personally, I too was super impressed when provided with dual monitors in my graphic design class in (public) high school, eight years ago. I was only slightly less impressed when about half of the guys I knew in college did a similar set up with their MacBooks and 44in flat screen TVs, although I may not totally appreciate the point. Hell, I’m not doing much at work right now, maybe I’ll throw another monitor on my desk so I can finally watch that show Lost everyone is so obsessed with while simultaneously “working”. Rather, the magnitude of the accomplishment she implied was outweighed by the absurdity that Dow Jones would crash had she not been given a second computer screen.
HOW TO KNOW IF YOU’RE GUILTY: If only your mom/ grandma comments.
DO: If all your Facebook fans are just dying to see your work desk, please the peons with the mobile upload and an aloof caption “Twice the monitors, twice the fun!” The image of two screen is engaging and you’ll come off as more important than someone who feels the need to explain why they are important, and much less of an ass hole.
DON’T: Complain how busy/stressful your job is. In no way do I mean to discredit your stress, as everyone handles it differently and can take on different amounts. However, be prepared to get a backlash from people who believe that they are even more busy/stressed than you, and intend to prove it.
EXAMPLE: In another mobile upload (although from a different user) the image showed Microsoft Outlook with an inbox slightly exceeding 100 unread messages. The caption read along the lines of “so much work” blah, blah, blah. Within an hour there were half a dozen comments from fellow white-collar workers comparing their own inbox rankings, all of which trumped the puny 100 (because who would dare admit they weren’t as swamped?) Again speaking from personal experience, I have held office jobs ranging from as little three emails a day, to one where I got upwards of 300 in a day. Point is, I wasn’t significantly more important in either of these positions, but gosh 300 does make me sound incredibly imperative.
HOW TO KNOW IF YOU’RE GUILTY: If every comment regarding your post contains one of the following words: weak, pussy, amateur, rookie, wannabe, pathetic, just wait, so on and so forth.
DO: Simply state “Spent all morning checking email, will it never stop?” or something with that general meaning. Giving concrete data is giving fuel to the haters (think the person who bid $1 above the next highest bidder on The Price is Right), while keeping a mystery may lead some to believe you really are as crucial of an employee as you think.
DON’T: Boast about a raise. Though this may seem to fall in the category of bragging, I think it deserves its own address. It is a universal rule that personal relationships* with money, religion and politics should not be discussed with acquaintances or anyone less than your closest friends or significant others. This definitely applies to all social media.
EXAMPLE: Any mention of pay, increase thereof, with or without exact monetary values. Just don’t do it.
HOW TO YOU IF YOURE GUILTY: You know.
DO: Celebrate with a small happy hour with mutually respected coworkers or close friends. And buy everyone a round of shots, it’s the least you could do while wallowing in your own success.
*(warning, rant about to ensue)*social media can be great platforms for special interest groups, economist, activists, political parties, a cappella groups, LARP players and members of the International Butter Club, but those strong willed opinions should be addressed on the proper platform with structured debates and discussions. By “personal relationship” I mean one’s own finances (not the economy, feel free to bitch openly about that). Another example of breaking this universal rule is the following political….observance, if you will, that a friend of mine posted as her status: “Democrats solution to our country's health problem: Universal health care. Republicans solution: If you're poor or don't have insurance, don't get sick. Hmmm...” Of course this was followed by 30 comments, some in protest, some in agreement, some even with –can you believe it- supportive facts, to which the original poster replied “I hate heated Facebook debates.” Do I really need to explain the irony?
If you have a job, great. If you have a great job, awesome! Everyone deserves to be proud of themselves, especially when accomplishing their goals. But personal satisfaction along with tact can go a long way – sometimes further than a bachelor’s degree. So next time you want to shout from the rooftops how awesome your job really is (or how awesome you think you really are at your job) just remember…who are you trying to impress when the only opinion that matters is yours?....and maybe your boss, but c'mon, who really friends their boss on Facebook?