Making a Job Transition on Social Media

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This situation happens every day: you receive a job offer while still employed, and give notice to your current employer. Pretty straightforward, right?

Under certain circumstances, some employers will respond by immediately terminating your employment. (Once I was escorted from my office building, which was amusing because my wife worked in the same building and I had to return to tell her that I was leaving my job). Others will give you time to get your affairs in order.

But how much should you share about your job transition on social media? Considering the ever-increasing number of online oversharing disasters, some self-imposed rules are in order. You wouldn’t want your next employer to rescind your job offer before you even walk into your new office.

Don’t Tell the Whole Web

First, if you are lucky enough to get job offers from multiple companies, keep them to yourself. If you must seek advice, avoid the urge to do so on Facebook; instead, reserve your outreach to a few phone calls to trusted advisors.

Why? Employers have been known to drop candidates who have discussed offers in a public forum. In May 2015, one job seeker asked the Internet for help in evaluating two offers from Uber and Zenefits. When the CEO of Zenefits (which actually offered a lower salary) found out, he rescinded the offer. The resulting controversy sparked all sorts of comments on Quora, along with this interesting analysis.

Even if you’re not leaving your current position, it’s always a good idea to avoid writing about your work on the Internet. If you accidentally reveal too much about your company’s internal processes, or even something proprietary, chances are good you’ll be disciplined or fired.

Know Thy (Sharing) Self

Harvard Business Review has a simple online self-assessment quiz to help you rate yourself in the sharing department. (Example question: “What is your goal in self-disclosure?”) If you’re unsure whether you’re routinely sharing too much online out of habit, take the quiz as part of a broader self-assessment.

Don’t Post in Anger

No matter what the circumstances of your departure from your current employer, don’t post something in anger. Take a few moments (even days) to cool off and think things through. You never know when you might need a reference, or even end up working for the same firm again.

Employers: Check Your Policies

Finally, employers should bone up on labor law and check their own social-media policies, to better understand what is lawful and what isn’t. In 2012, the National Labor Relations Board settled several lawsuits concerning employees who were fired over Facebook posts. Typically, employees have the right to use social media to discuss the terms and conditions of their own employment, but there are limits.

Image Credit: Lenka Horavova/Shutterstock.com

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