This is the reason why in my keynote speeches, workshops and seminars I have an entire segment of the program dedicated to how smart people making foolish decisions when it comes to social media. The number of intelligent people who just don’t get it has ceased to amaze me, as no matter how many times you say it or print it, lives and careers are ruined because WE JUST CAN’T WAIT TO BE CERTAIN WE’RE BEING HEARD AND READ COMMENTING ABOUT WHAT CAN DAMAGE OUR CAREERS.
Or there’s the dark side, where people use mostly Facebook for exposing their hateful side. These are the people you should avoid at every turn.
I waited on this one to see what would eventually happen, and I was correct in guessing there would be termination at the end of this misguided rainbow.
It began with an employee at the Seminole (FL) County Clerks Office who just couldn’t help himself making comments about Florida State Attorney Aramis Ayala.
What started all this was the State Attorney refusing Florida Governor Rick Scott’s order to consider the death penalty in certain cases. That got the pot boiling and led to certain elected officials seeking to have her removed from office. This is, of course, their right as the people elected to seek such recourse. But the point here is doing it in the proper manner, as did the politician noted in this story.
Also note in that story the County Clerk employee who decided to make this his own personal crusade is now out of a job. The story may say he resigned, but it’s obvious he was told to leave by his own hand or someone would do it for him.
Suggesting the State Attorney be put to death, tarred, feathered, hung from a tree is not what anyone should consider a solid career path.
McCullars is allegedly a smart man and an adult, but Facebook turned him into a petulant, vengeful adolescent. He properly paid the price. He has no one to blame but himself. There was no other recourse for an Office that is charged with serving ALL the people, not just those with a certain opinion.
So let’s boil this down.
- Facebook has become one of the deadliest and most effective career and image killers in the world today. Once you post something there or on any other form of social media, the chances are high it will be copied almost immediately and shared.
- “Hey, I’m OK. I posted it but I deleted it right away” could be the more foolish things anyone could say here in the 21st century. People are trolling for these type of mistakes, and once it’s up, all they have to do is screen grab it and they own it. And they own you. Forever.
- When it comes to controversial opinions, think several times before saying or especially writing. Emotions run high at certain times, and if you take a simple breath, a few beats and think about it, hopefully your common sense will kick in and keep you from becoming the fool. Or worse, unemployed.
- Current employers are always scouring the social media pages of their employees to read and hear what they’re saying. They have every legal right to do so, and they are more often than not looking to ferret out those who will impair the image of the company which in the end could cost the company money. You have no privacy on social media. None. Zero. Get it through your head.
- For the employers and potential employers, would you hire McCullars now? Knowing what resides in the man’s heart, would you want him representing you and your firm? I doubt it. Sooner or later he’ll say or write something even more damaging, perhaps in person to a fellow employee or a client. That puts you in a legal sling and will impact your bottom line.
People will say “give the guy a break and a second chance”. Employer will say why take the chance? Why put a company at risk when there are a few hundred people out there just as qualified and with a greater sense of responsibility, personal image and integrity.
Sure, we all make mistakes. But poorly thought ones like this are becoming career killers.
As well they should.