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How to Avoid Getting Fired by Facebook

How to Avoid Getting Fired by Facebook
Donald Trump

Donald Trump may have gone out and trademarked the term “You’re Fired”, but he is going to have a hard time competing with Facebook.

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Everything is public. Act as though it is going to be on the front page of the New York Times tomorrow. Facebook just announced that in a matter of a few days or weeks, it will become indexed by the colossal Google search engine. People are now also able to search for listings from the welcome page without first signing up as a member. Welcome to the front page! Beware of what you air in places like Facebook, MySpace or Twitter that have become easily searchable, fairly permanent and highly public.

People are losing their jobs over this. Take the Goldman Sachs trader Charlie Barrow for instance. He became addicted and got fired for spending too much of his time prattling. He went as far as adding a warning letter from his employer on his profile. Penn State’s Daily Collegian columnist Zach Good was fired over comments made regarding a cancer fundraiser. His editor in chief wrote in a blog post titled “I’m no Donald Trump, but…” followed by comments “Anyone has the right to free speech. No one has the right to be employed at a newspaper. That is a privilege.” Canadian grocery chain employees Devon Bourgeois and James Woodwere fired for making wisecracks admitting theft.

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Here is a list of things you should do (or not do) in online venues like Facebook:

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  1. Don’t do it during work time unless you have permission to do so. Better yet, don’t use it at work unless you think it will get you a raise. Commission sales people are less likely to get in trouble over this than someone working in the accounting department.
  2. Don’t post anything that you wouldn’t feel comfortable posting or discussing in the lunchroom at work. Some people got busted for posting photographs of things that went on at parties.
  3. Remove comments posted by others that can get you into trouble. Edit them directly or ask whoever posted them to remove them.
  4. Raise your privacy settings. Be mindful that these settings only prevent the average user from digging out the information. Assume there is a chance that the information can still leak out.
  5. Do not ever admit to anything even remotely resembling a crime. Cops and prosecutors know how to use Facebook as well as anyone. You’ll have a hard time undoing such an admission, even if done as a joke. If your boss doesn’t really like you, Facebook might become a good place to turn to find dirt that can be used to get rid of you.
  6. Don’t disclose personal information that you are not comfortable having out there. Birthdates are a crucial piece of information used to identify people that might be better left out of your profile.
  7. Monitor your information. Google your name often, set up alerts and let people know what your expectations are for personal information. Let your close friends know where you stand so there are fewer issues. This is especially important for the photo junkies who like posting potentially embarrassing photos that may have you in one or more of them.
  8. Be considerate of others when you are posting things. If your friend just started a new job as a Whitehouse intern, don’t start posting stuff that won’t make it past the watchdogs.
  9. Don’t discuss confidential stuff online. If you aren’t sure, err on the side of caution. Don’t be afraid to ask someone before going ahead and posting something.
  10. Be careful if you mix your personal and business online. People often make the mistake of carelessly mixing personal and business contacts. Be somewhat more conservative with your business than your personal contacts to minimize this source of potential problems.

If you like your job and don’t want to get trumped out of it, be careful how you use Facebook or one or the many tools like it. Use these above suggestions and your profile will become positively enhanced. Many employers, including the CIA, are turning to these tools as part of their recruiting arsenal. If you use them well, you might be hearing “You’re Hired.”

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If you have any war stories, tips or ideas to share, please post a comment (knowing it might end up on the front page).

Peter Paul Roosen and Tatsuya Nakagawa (Twitter Feed) are co-founders of Atomica Creative Group , a specialized strategic product marketing firm. Through leading edge insight and research, sound strategic planning and effective project management, Atomica helps companies achieve greater success in bringing new products to market and in improving their existing businesses. They have co-authored Overcoming Inventoritis: The Silent Killer of Innovation now available.

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Last Updated on April 8, 2019

22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

Unless you’re infinitely rich or prepared to rack up major debt, you need to budget your income. Setting limits on how much you are willing to spend helps control expenses. But what about your time? Do you budget your time or spend it carelessly?

Deadlines are the chronological equivalent of a budget. By setting aside a portion of time to complete a task, goal or project in advance you avoid over-spending. Deadlines can be helpful but they can also be a source of frustration if set improperly. Here are some tips for making deadlines work:

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  1. Use Parkinson’s Law – Parkinson’s Law states that tasks expand to fill the time given to them. By setting a strict deadline in advance you can cut off this expansion and focus on what is most important.
  2. Timebox – Set small deadlines of 60-90 minutes to work on a specific task. After the time is up you finish. This cuts procrastinating and forces you to use your time wisely.
  3. 80/20 – The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of the value is contained in 20% of the input. Apply this rule to projects to focus on that critical 20% first and fill out the other 80% if you still have time.
  4. Project VS Deadline – The more flexible your project, the stricter your deadline. If a task has relatively little flexibility in completion a softer deadline will keep you sane. If the task can grow easily, keep a tight deadline to prevent waste.
  5. Break it Down – Any deadline over one day should be broken down into smaller units. Long deadlines fail to motivate if they aren’t applied to manageable units.
  6. Hofstadter’s Law – Basically this law states that it always takes longer than you think. A rule I’ve heard in software development is to double the time you think you need. Then add six months. Be patient and give yourself ample time for complex projects.
  7. Backwards Planning – Set the deadline first and then decide how you will achieve it. This approach is great when choices are abundant and projects could go on indefinitely.
  8. Prototype – If you are attempting something new, test out smaller versions of a project to help you decide on a final deadline. Write a 10 page e-book before your 300 page novel or try to increase your income by 10% before aiming to double it.
  9. Find the Weak Link – Figure out what could ruin your plans and accomplish it first. Knowing the unknown can help you format your deadlines.
  10. No Robot Deadlines – Robots can work without sleep, relaxation or distractions. You aren’t a robot. Don’t schedule your deadline with the expectation you can work sixteen hour days to complete it. Deathmarches aren’t healthy.
  11. Get Feedback – Get a realistic picture from people working with you. Giving impossible deadlines to contractors or employees will only build resentment.
  12. Continuous Planning – If you use a backwards planning model, you need to constantly be updating plans to fit your deadline. This means making cuts, additions or refinements so the project will fit into the expected timeframe.
  13. Mark Excess Baggage – Identify areas of a task or project that will be ignored if time grows short. What e-mails will you have to delete if it takes too long to empty your inbox? What features will your product lack if you need a rapid finish?
  14. Review – For deadlines over a month long take a weekly review to track your progress. This will help you identify methods you can use to speed up work and help you plan more efficiently for the future.
  15. Find Shortcuts – Almost any task or project has shortcuts you can use to save time. Is there a premade library you can use instead of building your own functions? An autoresponder to answer similar e-mails? An expert you can call to help solve a problem?
  16. Churn then Polish – Set a strict deadline for basic completion and then set a more comfortable deadline to enhance and polish afterwards. Often churning out the basics of a task quickly will require no more polishing afterwards than doing it slowly.
  17. Reminders – Post reminders of your deadlines everywhere. Creating a sense of urgency with your deadlines is necessary to keep them from getting pushed aside by distractions.
  18. Forward Planning – Not mutually exclusive with backwards planning, this involves planning the details of a project out before setting a deadline. Great for achieving clarity about what you are trying to accomplish before making arbitrary time limits.
  19. Set a Timer – Get one that beeps. Somehow the countdown of a timer appears more realistic for a ninety minute timebox than just glancing at your clock.
  20. Write them Down – Any deadline over a few hours needs to be written down. Otherwise it is an inclination not a goal. Having written deadlines makes them more tangible than internal decisions alone.
  21. Cheap/Fast/Good – Ben Casnocha in My Start Up Life mentions that you can have only have two of the three. Pick two of the cheap/fast/good dimensions before starting a project to help you prioritize.
  22. Be Patient – Using a deadline may seem to be the complete opposite of patience. But being patient with inflexible tasks is necessary to focus on their completion. The paradox is that the more patient you are, the more you can focus. The more you can focus the quicker the results will come!

Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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