Why vent­ing work-re­lated anger via so­cial me­dia can ruin your ca­reer

Business Bhutan - - Opinion - SAUMYA BHATTACHARYA

How of­ten have you been livid with your boss? And how of­ten have you dragged your friend and con­fi­dante at work to vent the rage out to her? Now re­place this friend with so­cial me­dia—Face­book, Twit­ter or LinkedIn. Does the prospect of a rash ti­rade about the com­pany you work for sound as ap­peal­ing as talk­ing to a friend or a col­league who is your sound­ing board? To a ra­tio­nal mind, per­haps not. How­ever, there have been in­creas­ing in­stances of em­ploy­ees get­ting into big trou­ble over their work-re­lated rants on so­cial me­dia. How­so­ever toxic you may per­ceive your or­gan­i­sa­tion to be, a pub­lic rant will never help. So­cial me­dia has the power to reach thou­sands of peo­ple in­stantly, and can play a key role in your ca­reer as your per­sonal brand builder. Think of all those in­flu­encers on Twit­ter and LinkedIn. They are ex­perts and do­main spe­cial­ists in their re­spec­tive ar­eas, and have built their per­sonal brand care­fully, tweet by tweet and post by post. That said, there is no deny­ing the need to vent, and ad­dress the is­sue when you face hu­mil­i­a­tion and bul­ly­ing at work. Bul­lies do ter­ri­ble dam­age to peo­ple and or­gan­i­sa­tions alike. Imag­ine be­ing picked on in meet­ing af­ter meet­ing for one thing or the other, and con­stantly be­ing told you are not good enough. Hu­mil­i­at­ing a se­nior per­son in front of her ju­niors or un­der­min­ing a team leader to his team. All these hurt the self-es­teem of the per­son at the re­ceiv­ing end. And that’s just the tip of the ice­berg. Bul­ly­ing takes many forms and shapes. In one in­stance, a su­per boss be­lit­tled the team leader ev­ery time a crit­i­cal de­ci­sion was be­ing made. In one in­stance, a boss would de­lib­er­ately and con­tin­u­ously leave one per­son out from team lunch in­vites, and team gath­er­ings. There were no harsh words in this in­stance, but this bul­ly­ing went on for years, and the sub­tle cal­lous­ness of this boss went largely un­no­ticed. Of­ten, or­gan­i­sa­tions do not have ready and ac­tive mech­a­nisms to deal with bul­ly­ing. How does one deal with a bully, es­pe­cially when in some in­stances it will be the per­son one re­ports to? Ask­ing a se­nior or a work­place men­tor to in­ter­vene could be an op­tion. Doc­u­ment­ing the in­stances of bul­ly­ing and bring­ing them to the no­tice of a su­per boss at an op­por­tune time would be the right thing to do. Bul­ly­ing has deep psy­cho­log­i­cal reper­cus­sions. If there is no help around for a long time, bide your time, look for op­por­tu­ni­ties and opt out. What if you have thrown all cau­tion to the wind, and were so pro­voked and hurt that you spoke against the em­ployer on so­cial me­dia? This rant would not be with­out con­se­quences. First, a rant (worse, a vit­ri­olic at­tack) would make you seem un­pro­fes­sional to the core. In­stead of re­solv­ing the is­sue, you chose to put it out on a pub­lic plat­form. Some may dis­miss you as a dis­grun­tled em­ployee. Sec­ond, you will seem like a per­son who is emo­tional and not equipped to deal with work­place is­sues dis­pas­sion­ately. How will then a po­ten­tial em­ployer trust you with de­ci­sion-mak­ing? Third, a so­cial me­dia at­tack on the em­ployer will seem wrong as this is just one side of the is­sue. Your com­pany likely has a large num­ber of em­ploy­ees who are man­ag­ing well in the same setup. Other mem­bers in your team may get along well with the same boss whom you have ha­rangued and raged against pub­licly. Four, by putting across a defam­a­tory post against your em­ployer or boss, you are putting your­self in a sit­u­a­tion where the em­ployer or the boss can take le­gal ac­tion against you. None of the above is con­ducive to your ca­reer. When you have built your ca­reer grad­u­ally, metic­u­lously over years, it’s fool­ish to dam­age it with a few hasty, thought­less words. How can you make amends af­ter you have posted some­thing nasty about your em­ployer on so­cial me­dia? Since you chose so­cial me­dia to in­flict the dam­age, take re­course to the same plat­form to dam­age-con­trol. Edit the post or per­haps put an­other post ex­plain­ing how hasty the ear­lier post was. Ex­plain that it was a weak mo­ment that prompted you to post the rant. While you do have lots of un­re­solved is­sues with the or­gan­i­sa­tion, show your re­gret at choos­ing an in­ap­pro­pri­ate plat­form. Ev­ery em­ployee has faced work­place prob­lems that of­ten re­main un­re­solved. Peo­ple will iden­tify with the weak mo­ment that you found your­self in. Be the big­ger per­son and apol­o­gise un­con­di­tion­ally if your post hurt some­one. An exit from the cur­rent job should al­ways be grace­ful. Fi­nally, move on. And start to re­build your ca­reer. Meet peo­ple and proac­tively point out the out-of-char­ac­ter rant if they are your po­ten­tial em­ploy­ers. Ca­reers are not built on rants; they are built on hon­esty, ethics, and strength of char­ac­ter. The writer has been a jour­nal­ist for more than 15 years. [Cour­tesy – ToI]

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