I will be perfectly honest. Gossip drives the workplace.
Even if you don’t actively participate in it, it is all around you. It flows through you, like the Force. It keeps people moving- alert- waiting for the next tacky, scandalous shoe to drop. You might even be lazily drawn to the heady aroma of juicy chatter, like a lion to the carcass of a gazelle. Why else would you show up to work other than to get your daily dose of schadenfreude in the break room or designated smoking area? Your meager paycheck? Let’s not be insulting.
But this isn’t 1974. People just don’t sit around water coolers and steno pools anymore. Your wide brown-and-gold paisley tie is merely a sad echo of a long dead time. This is modern day, friend, and people are gossiping about you at break-neck speed with the latest online technology.
As I have mentioned in my best-selling book How to Get Fired!, gossiping is an excellent way to be escorted from the company premises. But with the advent of modern technology, it is an even more spectacularly awesome and drama-riffic way to be escorted from the company premises.
Although all of the examples of gossip going wrong via social media are too numerous to list here, I highly suggest you simply Google ‘fired by Facebook’ or ‘fired by Twitter’ next time you get a chance. Here are some of my personal favorites for those of you who are too lazy to feel lucky:
The cardinal rule in this data-heavy age where social networking and office politics intermingle is this, ladies and gentlemen: Nothing on the Internet is private. Nothing. Just because nobody ever comments on your Livejournal rants doesn’t mean that someone, anyone….especially your employer doesn’t know about it. It is a window into your social life, and just because you can look out doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t be looking in. Every comment, photo, and opinion you post online could have your employment hanging on it.
But don’t let that scare you away from posting an update…I’d love to have something to talk about at the office tomorrow.
Jeff Havens is a professional speaker and author. Contact us today to learn how Jeff’s presentation “Uncrapify Your Life” can help your organization improve their customer service.