disgruntled Facebook postings

I was just reading this post by Martin Burns about a Facebook status update that read as follows:

“___ is jealous of people that love their jobs — wish I was one of them..or at the least had a manager that gives a crap!@@%%&&”

Martin raised the question of whether this kind of post is job suicide.

I think it depends on who you are and who your manager is.

If I saw this kind of thing from a good employee, I’d be concerned about her unhappiness and would probably sit down with her and say something like, “Hey, I saw your Facebook status update. Was that just normal blowing off steam, or something more? If you’re unhappy, I really want to know about it and figure out how we can help.”

On the other hand, if it came from a bad employee or an employee with attitude problems or whatever, I’d take it as symptomatic of that, and our conversation would have a very different feel — more along the lines of “rather than stewing in your unhappiness, let’s figure out if you can be happy here or not, and if you can’t, let’s talk about where to go from here.”

And then, of course, there are managers who would handle it totally differently — ignoring it entirely, penalizing the person for it, or whatever.

What about you guys?

{ 14 comments… read them below }

  1. Christine*

    My question: why on earth would you let your boss see your facebook profile in the first place?

  2. Anonymous*

    Something that everyone should avail themselves of is the comprehensive privacy settings that Facebook allows each user to customize to his or her liking – from blocking people from being able to search for your profile entirely, to making lists of different friends (family, friends, co-workers, etc.) and allowing them different rights to see (or not see) parts of your profile, like statuses and tagged pictures.

    That being said, because I prevent my co-workers and colleagues from seeing my Facebook status updates, I regularly blow off steam on Facebook (especially when I’m looking for a little sympathy, because hey, who isn’t).

    I do think it’s important to have those open lines of communication with your manager. Unfortunately, most managers I’ve had simply will listen to what you have to say but it will go in one ear and out the other. Of course I’d rather try to talk to him or her and work it out, but even if I have a good relationship with my manager I need to blow off steam sometimes!

  3. recruiter*

    Hola. Martin Burns here. Thanks for the insights, always enjoy our point of view… Ideally, yeah, you want that rise-above-it-all, compassionate, patient manager type to be in everyone’s life. Sadly, they aren’t – they’re extremely rare. Plus, the poster was insulting this person’s compassion in the first place (ie, they don’t give a crap), and talking about how they (essentially) hated their boss. And, they did it in the ultimate public space: Facebook. Imagine walking into Grand Central, grabbing a bullhorn, and yelling that while CBS, NBC, CNN, etc filmed you. You’d still get more eyes on with a Facebook status update.

    It’s kind of like suicide by cop – let’s call it suicide by status.

    And, sadly Anonymous – just because Facebook makes you think you can compartmentalize what gets seen, and have privac, that’s an illusion. Nothing on the Web stays private. If you need to vent, I strongly suggest you do it with your fingers off of the keyboard.

  4. Kerry*

    I completely agree with you; I’d handle it differently based on how good the employee was overall.

    I’d add, though, that if this was a good employee with whom I thought I had a rapport, I’d wonder how the hell I missed this. If an employee feels like this about me, and I had no idea…well, as the kids say, that’s my bad. I’d want to make sure I was doing a better job of knowing where I stand with each employee.

  5. Anonymous*

    You are not anonymous on the Internet, and don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by thinking that Facebook privacy settings will keep people from seeing what you post. Call a friend or go for a walk instead. There were millions of people working and dealing with problems at work before Facebook came along; it’s not the only outlet. :)

  6. George Guajardo*

    While we may not be anonymous on the web, I pick and choose who is on my facebook friend list. If I am silly enough to add my boss, then you bet I am going to be more careful about what I post.

  7. recruiter*

    Your boss doesn’t need to be on your friend list to see your status update – if you’re in the same network, and you’ve left yourself open in that network, they can see it. If somebody who knows your boss – even if your boss still thinks the Internet’s a series of tubes – see it, all the have to do is a simple cut, paste, and e-mail to bring it out in the open.

  8. Anonymous*

    I once wrote in my Facebook status (and I quote): “___ is Stresssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssed!”

    That is all I wrote. I didn’t even said it was related to work (although it was) and I was called in by a manager at my office and since my work is close to social networking sites, the manager to me that I must be careful about what I write because clients can see it.

    That really bothered me. Is it me or the company I work for are paranoid and too conservative?

    I would like to specify that the manager who talked to me was not my immediate superior nor was she threatening me but she did report it to my boss and was instructed to speak to me.

    Any feedback would be appreciateed.

  9. Ask a Manager*

    Anonymous, I think that’s probably overkill. It’s definitely inappropriate if your job wasn’t one that would expose your social networking site to clients. But even if it does, yeah, it’s a bit heavy-handed. Not fully crazy, but a bit much, in my opinion.

  10. Anonymous*

    I just got burned for my Facebook status update. It wasn’t over the top- just something like “My coworker’s laugh makes me crazy.” I was accused by someone in charge as having “questionable judgment” and not having the organization’s “best interests in mind”. I was even pulled off a project that I’ve worked on for the last few months.

  11. Mel Vault*

    I actually think this is somewhat black&white. If your manager isn't that bad then the employee has issues that probably won't be repaired via chat. If the manager is that bad, then they're probably not skilled enough to rectify the situation as tactfully as AAM suggests.

  12. Morgan*

    Saying something in a status update on a public site like facebook or twitter is just like saying it out loud. So if you post something on a public account like that, make sure you mean it and will live up to the consequences.

  13. anon*

    This is why I’m not Facebook friends with people I don’t trust, and don’t post things like that places where people I don’t trust will see them.

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