Should you blog about your career?
The modern workforce is a socially connected and engaged one. When it comes to their work-life, some people like to share a little too much, and your company might have a different view. Here is how to ensure you stay on the right side of the fence when it comes to liveblogging your career.
When you have found a job through a service like LeaddMe, most candidates will be very excited to share the news with their peers. That’s especially true of digital natives in the information technology or public relations sectors who often live their lives on social media platforms.
However, when you start on day one, you must read the detail of what is written down in the company’s code of conduct and best practices before starting to share those early moments of your exciting new career with everyone in your social circle.
There are plenty of examples of people being fired for what you may consider relatively minor issues, but companies have brands to protect. Recent examples include staff making TikTok videos of their Starbucks exploits, while many people have been fired after making an ill-advised post.
In most starter packs at a new company, there is plenty of legal language to protect the company. A typical example may include, “The Employee acknowledges that during the period of employment they will have access to and be entrusted with information in respect of the technology, business and financing of the company that amounts to a trade secret, is confidential or is commercially sensitive that must not be shared externally.”
Less common, but growing in visibility are clauses about social media posting, such as “The employee has the right to engage in personal social media activities on their own devices to express their thoughts or ideas as long as they do not conflict with company policies or business or harm the goodwill and reputation.
Employees may not:
- Disclose confidential information on social media sites.
- Make defamatory or harassing statements about the company, its activities or staff.
- Use company imagery or links.”
Typically things you should not be discussing are rather obvious, but they can be easy to overlook, especially for people early in their career. These may include:
- Salary or your benefits.
- Products or projects in progress.
- Anything forward-looking about the business.
- Details that could be considered insider information.
- Comments about colleagues and especially your bosses.
Laws vary from country to country, but it is possible to get fired for making social media posts. In most contracts, you can be dismissed for cause instantly within the first three months.
If there is no specific guidance about posting then you should ask a manager, director or the HR department what they consider acceptable. You can frame the question as “I would like to help boost the company’s profile by posting about my work, is it okay to...?” They should be able to find some guidelines that can accommodate the needs of the business and the desire for workers to show what they are doing.
Assuming you are allowed to post about your work on social media, when it comes to posting, you should:
- Think about everything you write and post smart. If you have a nagging doubt about something then don’t post it. If you are taking a photo, does it show other people or possible sensitive information? The same goes for video.
- Even if you didn’t sign a non-disclosure agreement, do not think about sharing juicy gossip or details that could impact the business.
- Don’t mix work and social posts. The language or tone of voice you might use with your friends might not be appropriate when mixed with something about your work.
- Someone is always looking. You might only have a dozen Twitter followers or a few colleagues on LinkedIn, but if you post something noteworthy, it will get shared and noticed.
Also, people can be fired for making posts on their social media that have nothing to do with work. Comments about race, religion, minorities, political or generally derogatory comments, even things posted years ago can come back to haunt people.
Employers can highlight these attitudes as likely to lead to a toxic work environment, so it is probably worth deleting anything in your social history you are not proud of.