We are all pioneering the age of social media and its effects on everything that happens in our lives. While there is certainly a lot of good that comes from these sites, there is also a lot of damage that can be afflicted as well. Namely – sabotaging our careers and getting fired over Facebook.
Getting fired and ruining your finances over something as dumb as Facebook posts may seem like something that could never happen to you, but it could! Here’s a story of something that just happened recently…
You Really Can Be Fired Over Facebook:
Recently the company I work for held their annual meeting to decide raises for all the employees. As one of the department heads, I participate in this meeting and contribute my opinions as to what my fellow colleagues should receive for a raise. Like a lot of other companies, the meeting both highlights the best of the best as well as the worst of the worst employees.
In this one particular meeting, an administrative assistant who was usually pretty disgruntled was the topic. She was one of those people who was always talking about how dumb everyone else is, complaining about how everyone else makes her job harder, and usually full of excuses for everything. Some people defended her saying she wasn’t THAT bad while others argued the contrary.
What was the final straw? One of the attendees brought up her Facebook account which was basically full of rants about how much she hated her job. This really didn’t sit well with our superiors, and the choice was made. She was let go two weeks later.
This Happens More Than You Think:
That’s probably not the first time you’ve heard a story like that. There have been numerous occasions throughout the years where people have ranted about their jobs online and suddenly found themselves out of work the next day.
One of the more troublesome situations is when you post something that you think is innocent but other people don’t agree. I recall hearing one story on the radio of a teacher who went on a vacation and posted some pictures later on Facebook. In one of them was a picture of her enjoying an alcoholic drink at dinner. As you can guess, that didn’t sit well with a few conservative parents, and they reported her to the board. Ultimately she was fired.
Watch What You Say and Post Online:
Sites like Twitter and Facebook have made it possible for us to keep in contact with friends and family that we would never communicate with on a regular basis. And for that we are thankful!
But with everything good there is always a bad side. And that bad side is that social media sites make it all too easy for anyone and everyone to look into our everyday lives and see what is really going on or what we’re really thinking. And unfortunately for those people with diarrhea of the mouth, they’re just getting themselves into hot water!
If you put it out there for people to read and see, then expect to be judged! I’m not saying if it’s right or wrong – it’s just a fact! Most jobs in America are “at-will employment” meaning that you can be terminated at any time as long as it isn’t for a reason that is protected by law such as sex, race, age, etc.
So what can we do to protect ourselves from getting fired over Facebook or other things we do online? Simple! Use some common sense!
1) Don’t talk about your job on Facebook. In fact, try to avoid anything specific as much as possible. If you do have to say something, make sure its positive. I’m sure that meeting I talked about above would have ended a lot differently if it was full of things about how much she loved her job.
2) Don’t write nasty things when you’re angry that you’re going to regret later. Everything you type lives on forever in cyber-space. When you’re mad, sit on a for a day. Call your best friend. Call your Mom. But don’t broadcast your disgust to the rest of the world – you never know who will read it!
3) Watch who you “friend” on these sites. Like in my other story about the teacher, sometimes things you think are innocent get interpreted the wrong way with devastating results. In general, you should set your accounts to private and only friend people you actually know and trust. As a general rule, I don’t friend colleagues or clients on my personal Facebook account. Why take a chance or invite any unnecessary drama into my work life? While that may or may not work for some people, I like to keep the two things separate.
Readers – Do you know anyone who has ever gotten in trouble or even been fired over Facebook rants? What do you do to monitor yourself and keep things in check so that the same thing doesn’t happen to you?
2) Embrace That You ARE in Sales
3) What Did You Learn From Working as a Teenager?
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It’s quite amazing what people say on Facebook. I think it’s insane when people post personal information or problems they’re having at home or with their lives.
Social Media stuff has really made people think they’re more important than they are. Don’t people realize none of us care to hear about all of your personal details?
Jason – I could write a whole post on my topic! There is so much nonsense and self-righteous judgement that goes on. Everyone feels like they have a microphone!
Budget & the Beach says
Wow I can’t believe that teach was fired for just having a drink at dinner! That seems incredibly extreme. While I don’t know anyone who has gotten fired, I do know people who have completely ruined their reputation by posting drunken rants. And sometimes she would try to delete is the next morning, but it was already out there and being talked about. Once it’s out there, it’s out there, so people need to sit and think for a moment before they post just who might be reading it, and how they will perceive it.
Modest Money says
I’ve never posted anything on facebook that I regretted, but I have let my anger get the best of me via e-mail. In those cases I really should have given myself to cool off and fully analyze the situation. The convenience of instant communication can be a dangerous weapon, especially to people with a temper.
Jobs complaining – something to do to close friends in person, or after you leave (that’s what I figure). I’ve got no reason to complain though; I’ve been lucky in my career. Luckily in my non-teaching profession we will occasionally go out as a group – which removes the alcohol question from the equation, although I remove a number of tagged pictures regardless.
Such an important post! I try not to post anything about current jobs anywhere (a lesson learned with time…it’s scary that you’re allowed to post things on the eternity that is the internet at a young age!) I also don’t friend any coworkers or bosses. I won’t decline the requests, but I won’t approve them. Excoworkers etc different story.
[email protected] says
I don’t know anyone who has gotten fired over their facebook posts, but I know some people who should! One girl in particular works in a doctor’s office and is always complaining about patients and people she works with. She should get fired, I think!
It’s only going to be a matter of time! That is really dumb of her!
Marie at FamilyMoneyValues says
Great advice, and it applies to any kind of mass blast of information, not just Facebook or email.
Thanks Marie, and welcome to the site! You’re right. There’s a lot more to be learned from this lesson than just Facebook.
Tackling Our Debt says
So many people do not understand the negative implications of social media and how using it to share so many things about their lives will affect them now and in the future.
I don’t know anyone that has been fired for ranting on facebook but I do know of several young woman that were killed due to what they posted on facebook. Very tragic!!
Oh, no! Killed? What happened??
Edward Antrobus says
It sounds like her Facebook posts didn’t get her fired, they were merely the excuse for getting rid of a toxic employee.
I work hard, get along with everybody at work, am proactive, and have no problem speaking my mind on social media or to my boss.
Veronica @ Pelican on Money says
Edward, exactly! Seems like she is a bad fit for the company to begin with and whatever she posted on her Facebook is pure validation of that.
The negative posts were the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Savvy Scot says
Unbelievable!! I am VERY selective about who I ‘friend’ from work. And with good reason as highlighted above!
I can’t agree enough with this enough. As tempting as it is to friend everyone you know and have +1,000 friends, I think long term its better to have the intimacy of people you actually value and can be free around.
Jen @ Master the Art of Saving says
It’s really amazing all the work and personal information people are so willing to disclose online. Personally, I try to keep things from getting to private, even though I don’t have a job.
I think a separation of the two is important. As easy as it is to have friends at work, I think you’ll find that when push comes to shove (such as something you could be fired over), these are not your “real” friends.
Cat Alford @ Budget Blonde says
This post is so timely. I was just telling my students the exact same thing, as one of them complained about my colleague’s class on facebook. They were so surprised someone could see that!
Ha! What do people THINK is going to happen when you put it on Facebook? Or the Internet for that matter?
Great points, dude. I now follow your points the same way I follow the old rules of “don’t talk about politics or religion.” You never know what people are going to do with the information you put out there.
It’s very unfortunate, but people usually use what you put out there to their advantage – and that’s not good for you. I think our society and especially young people need to be much more careful about what they spread digitally.
I’m the exact same way about wanting my personal life and work life to be separate.
The fact that the admin assistant ranted on Facebook makes it seem she was pretty much asking to be fired. I don’t have Facebook, yet my friends, my family and even my parents have it. So although I want my life to be private, I know there are pictures of me on Facebook with my friends and family, whether I like it or not. And who’s to say, your friends won’t show their friends pictures of you or tell them what you wrote on their wall. I’m old school and just communicate via email. lol.
I agree that it is mindless to write negative thoughts on FB or any other social media sites as most companies have group of people in their reputation management team looking at anything and everything related to the company on a daily basis. I don’t blame a company at all for firing someone not that bright!
I think what most people would be surprised to find out is that the people who turn them in are their so called “friends”.
Ron @ Running From Debt says
Keeping your personal and professional life is very difficult with all the social media. When you start to become friends with people at work, it’s hard not to spend time with them outside of work. Sometimes, I think that people share waay too much on social media sites such as facebook, twitter, and instagram. I try to follow the general rule: post something that you won’t regret 5 years from now!
jefferson @seedebtrun says
if you are publicly talking bad about your job, you should probably get your head examined. everything you say and do online will be written into cement, and you wont be able to shake it.
i read recently that nearly all employers look up all applicants on facebook and linked-in to make sure that there were no obvious signs of trouble…
I know I do before I interview! I’ve avoided a few obvious red-flags that way when I see Facebook pics of people slamming beers, marijuana leaf shirts, and gangsta-rap gang signs. Another fun one is to check the registered offender site for people on probation, child support missed payments, drug offenses, etc. I’m at about a 1 to 10 for every resume I receive.
Lauren @ LBee and the Money Tree says
When I was much younger, firing over facebook was just beginning to become a “common” thing and I got fired for a public blog rant I had where I talked about how boring my job was. They were unhappy with me anyway, so it was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. I think as social media becomes even more mainstream it’s great to remind others of things that can happen. Besides, we aren’t emo teenagers anymore. If you wanna vent…tell you dog/husband about it 😉
Thanks Lauren and welcome to the site! It’s funny you mention the Emo teenager thing. Even aside from Facebook, I still see so many people falling into “the lets talk bad about everyone” trap at work. Even when I have a bad day I can slip into it. But then I come to, and realize that’s what sets you apart from being an adult and a teen – the ability to articulate and filter my feelings.
gold account says
The 5th grade teacher just doesn’t get it. She willingly put on the World Wide Web (anyone who thinks facebook is ‘private’ is incredibly naive) that she hates her students and wouldn’t try to save them if they were dying. It doesn’t matter if the children saw it or not. Parents do not want their child’s teacher to hate them or wish death upon them just because she’s having a ‘bad day’. She cannot be trusted if that is how she reacts to stress. She appears to be a very angry person. She should seek a different career that does not involve children.