Sunday, February 28, 2010

How to Lose Your Job Using Facebook in One Easy Step

** (RE-POSTED FROM AUGUST 14, 2009) **

** Today's stupefying entry originates from the United Kingdom -- and it's a welcome reminder for everyone caught up in the frenzy of what is, in my view -- the occasionally free-wheeling narcissism of social networking via blogs, Facebook, My Space, etc.

** My thanks to Matthew Glover, who runs a company that makes vinyl-framed windows, doors and conservatories in Wakefield -- a mid-sized city of 80,000 in West Yorkshire, England -- about 200 miles north of London. (And my thanks to U.K. buzz marketer Dean Hunt for posting this as a small blurb that got my attention on his popular website.)

** On Monday, August 10, 2009, Mr. Glover posted on his commercial website -- a screen shot of a Facebook exchange between a young woman and her boss.

** One problem. Her boss wasn't meant to see it. (The boss was NOT Mr. Glover.) The cyberworld hasn't yet identified the two names and the U.K. company involved -- but it's my kind of funny -- a mild form of Schadenfreude, e.g., my finding dark amusement in the mistakes of others, especially a mistake that's so BLATANTLY awful.

** Mr. Glover, in an e-mail reply to this column said, "I found the image on and included it on my blog. I also thought it was funny, but wasn’t sure if it was more (compatible with) a ‘British’ sense of humour. My friend Dean Hunt then picked it up, but I guess the image will be elsewhere now with the power of the Internet."

** Researching and tracking the Internet backward, I learned the screen shot had been "pooled" at -- which in turn had pulled it from an August 9 posting at a career management site called In my view, these four sites --,, Matthew's site and Dean Hunt's site -- are most responsible for sling-shooting this public/private exchange around the world.

** Matthew Glover sets up the exchange by simply stating the following: "Personally, I’ve been trying to avoid having too many of my employees as friends on Facebook (apart from a few carefully selected ones). I can see the potential problems, not least the fact that my staff will realise what a strange life I lead. It can be useful, though -- for helping you sack those not fully on your side."

** And sets everything up with this: "If you aren’t on the web, at times it’s almost impossible to secure a job. However, some people seem to keep forgetting that social media -- if not utilized properly -- can hurt your job search and can lead to a job loss. We came across one and had to share it."

** (The "PG-RATED" screen shot below is slightly enlarged and re-formatted to fit onto this page, but it's still hard to read. CLICK here or anywhere on the screen shot below to see an easier-to-read, UNCENSORED version.)

** A "P45" in the United Kingdom is equivalent to a "pink slip" in the United States.

** Obviously the lesson here is to "pause" before posting anything "too crazy" at a social networking site. It doesn't matter if you're a loose free spirit -- or if you're tight as a rusted bolt on an old tractor. Most of your friends, your boss or your customers might already know your quirks and mannerisms -- heck, they might even think they're endearing.

** But some won't. You can't please everybody. I'm not advocating self-censorship. But remember that some of your friends -- (or friends of friends) -- won't like everything you write. You alone are responsible for every word. The outburst above is an extreme example of self-immolation by a young woman who chose to throw the person who signs her paychecks under the bus. And if you think "sticking it to the man" is fashionable or defensible under certain circumstances -- ask yourself this: If you're the boss, how would you yourself respond to a public flogging of your character by anyone, let alone by one of your workers? Would you turn the other cheek and say, "well, everyone is entitled to their opinion." Maybe. But I doubt it.

** Many employers block access to places like Facebook for good reason. There are liability concerns, as well as the acknowledgement that some sites are like chat-rooms, major time-gougers that are a drain on productivity in the middle of the workday. It's too bad, but the young woman who got caught "freely expressing herself" -- left her brain in the freezer when she wrote this. The upside is her experience is very instructive and amusing for the rest of us.

** (You can see the original screen shot as it appeared on the site at: -- and how it appeared on Mr. Glover's site at:

(Original material © 2009 by David Kusumoto.)

1 comment:

  1. Loved this. Sooooo timely. I am always shocked by the number of my competitors who share interesting and odd "facts" about themselves in a forum where their clients are sure to see them.