We are the social media generation and our lives revolve around it. Our social media activities tell a lot about our personal lives and levels of maturity. The world makes judgement of who we are through the social media lenses.
In the career world, social media could turn out to be your strongest ally or your worst enemy. It all depends on your wisdom (or lack of it) when engaging this very powerful tool.
While one person could be securing a new job, another could be on his or her way out of employment because of the same platform; Social media.
Today I will share some of the activities that could severely harm your personal brand thus your career either as a new job seeker or as an employee already engaged in a high flying career.
1. Posting scandalous photos
Excessive partying, illegal substances use and overtly sexual photos will damage your personal credibility with both your employer and office colleagues.
The negative attention created by your inappropriate social media images will outrightly course the HR to want to find out more about your performance and your sense of credibility as a brand ambassador to your employer.
Avoid the temptation of having every photo of you on your social media platforms. Desist from being too quick to upload selfies and party clips. Scandalous images label you very negatively and people in the office will have a hard time seeing you any differently.
2. Complaining about the employer/workplace
You have certainly come across your friends’ social media updates ranting about their current state of employment, how weird their bosses are, how dumb their team members are, or how they have been forced to work late while all others are out enjoying the break.
Well, you may be very right but equally lacking in wisdom.
Throwing tantrums about your work environment on social media dents your level of maturity and negatively impacts how clients and potential talent view your organization. It also shows that you lack respect not only toward the boss, but also toward your colleagues.
Next time your boss zones you out of the project; it could be in response to your reckless post.
Learn to address every situation in its appropriate environment.
3. Complaining about clients
The truth is some clients are just too nasty and the thought of spending another day delivering on their solutions makes you sick. Well they still remain to be the client and they too have boundaries that must be respected and handled professionally at all times.
Avoid the temptation of taking to social media to ranting about client xyz and how they have made your life to be hell on earth yet they cannot even pay fr your services in time. Like it or not, that rant will be read by either the client team or your own boss and you know what consequences will follow.
The client will pay their debts immediately to save face and part of that money will be your terminal dues.
4. Sharing work related confidential info (employer or client)
There is a reason why many organizations and clients demand all parties should sign a non-disclosure agreement before the commencement of any engagement. Information is critical to organizations. Certain bits of info should remain within prescribed quarters for an agreeable amount of time.
Never take it to the social media to give an “update or breaking news” of the planned workforce review by your client or the new acquisition about to take place. Such a post could cause irreparable damage with serious legal implications to your employer besides losing the client and other prospects.
I have no doubt that you will out-rightly lose your job for such a terrible offense and your next job search exercise will be an uphill task courtesy of the references from you previous not so happy employer.
5. Bullying or trolling.
Some of us just like being bullies and we have done it so well under the guise of web anonymity which is now coming to an end. All your online activities can be tracked and it would be a big shame when your employer and colleagues realise you are the one who has been leading the online army in assaulting and making fun of innocent Kenyans online.
To safeguard their image, any employer will avoid having anything to do with you at all cost. You will lose your job and as a job seeker, your chances will disappear in thin air.
Avoid the temptation of joining the online bandwagon that trolls and abuses whoever appears in their “line of fire”
6. Groups you join/associate with
We join groups because we want to belong and we subscribe to the ideals of that particular group. When joining certain social media forums be wary of who they are and what course they advance. Avoid groups’ whose course is to demean others and cause harm in any form to those with a different opinion.
As we brace for the coming general elections, there will arise many groups and political forums with negative ethnic undertones on the social media space. Be careful if you plan to join such since they will reflect negatively on you and will certainly affect your career prospects.
Let your social media activities present you as a sober employee who respects all and sundry irrespective of their opinion.
7. Frequent post updates
You certainly have friends who have a new post on their wall or an image on Instagram every half an hour. Or maybe it is you doing that!! Any employer will be worried when they discover they have this kind of staff. The outright feeling is that you are spending too much time using office resources to advance your social media agenda.
Be moderate in your updates and learn to resist the temptation of getting addicted to your social media platforms. Create a personal discipline and stick to it on the times that you will be active online.
You will never die for not posting too frequently on social media.
Do not give the HR team an opportunity to start scrutinizing your performance and trying to relate it to your obsessive social media mannerism.
8. TMI – Personal
Do you have this colleague whom at the click of a button, you will know all that is happening in his/her life? She broke up with the boyfriend/girlfriend, she got pregnant, he bought a new ride, he is still awake, he watching a movie at Imax, she is now paying for the ice cream at Stone cold, is being taken out tonight by the new boyfriend, fired the house help etc
You may not lose your job but your colleagues and bosses’ perception and respect toward you will take a hit and affect how they relate with you at the work place.
You will come across as a very immature individual with zero social intelligence.
You may not be trusted with sensitive assignments that demand maturity and self-control. Your career growth may take a serious beating.
9. Extreme and insensitive opinions
Be it political, social, ethnic or religious, certain opinions and stands can be damaging to your career. In Kenya most of us tend to lose it when we engage in political discussions. It ends up taking an ethnic dimension full of stereotypes and uncontrolled emotional rants.
Let you social media platform give a reflection of an employee or an individual who respects diversity and is accommodative of different opinions. Anything to the contrary and you will soon be paying an unplanned visit to the HR department to have some unpleasant discussions where you will have to explain why you cannot appreciate the fact that your organization has been spending so much money and time running the Diversity & Inclusion campaign.
Be careful about your social media activities. Use this platform wisely and it will be a blessing to your career ambitions, do the opposite and soon all the curses will be poking at your career aspirations with shouts of vengeance.