Your Social Media Life/Your Work Life

By Jessica L. Benjamin - Recruitment Advertising - Boston

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With many more people job seeking and finding work on social media, people are learning how to use new tools and “manage” their personal brand. The successful people are also having genuine conversations with people, using social media as the conduit.

 

Many of the things that work for social hiring carry over into the actual workplace.

 

Here, I am referring to social media and workplace behaviors. I believe that political protest and discourse is important, but if you work for a typical American corporation, it can be so divisive in an office that I recommend checking it at the door.

 

One of the first things that leads me to “unfollow” someone on career-centric social media is posting of things that I take offense to, whether it be political, religious, sexist, et cetera. Although it’s pretty easy to deduce my political leanings from my social media activity, I really try to tone down what I post, which is hard for someone as interested in politics as I am.

 

I think this works in your career as well. One very nice man in my office and I have fairly opposing political views. I asked him if we could leave certain topics out of our conversations, and it has worked well from my point of view. We still get along and we don’t discuss Donald Trump’s political aspirations, amongst other things that I requested we table.

 

I consider it a huge success that I made it through an entire year of work, working very closely with my manager, with him incorrectly assuming I belonged to the same political party that he did. My only mistake was letting the topic come up and outing myself. Next time, I will know better. And I feel the same way about religion.

 

Another thing that is annoying on social media is people who are needlessly loud. They post the same self-serving things over and over. Apparently this technique is effective at gaining more Twitter followers, but of what quality are the followers? It’s like getting yelled at by someone you want to converse with on a more genuine level. There’s a reason it’s called SOCIAL media.

 

This is even more important in an open office space. Voices really travel. Having a business conversation is totally understandable and I can usually drown them out, but people who have long, involved personal conversations and phone calls are distracting. Much like listening to someone post the same egocentric message on social media, it’s annoying. I often wish they’d go to the break room, take highly personal phone calls in a private office, or lower their voices.

 

Finally, using work-centric social media for a constant barrage of negative messages and complaints without offering a way to take action or ameliorate the situation is tiresome. While there are many frightening and alarming situations going on in the world, I much prefer articles that offer ways people can help and studies that show how a situation could be improved than demands that complex problems be solved by elected officials immediately. Politics and social change rarely work like that.

 

Projecting negativity in the office is also just a bad idea. If you really dislike your job, stop doing yourself a disservice and find a new one. Not only can complaining bring your colleagues down, it doesn’t make the complainer feel any better either. See “Why Venting About Work Frustrations Actually Makes You Angrier” by Stephanie Vozza. (http://www.fastcompany.com/3032351/the-future-of-work/why-venting-about-work-actually-makes-you-angrier)

 

I am far from being a Pollyanna online or at work. I am hoping these suggestions will help anyone interested in recognizing and changing these behaviors in themselves. If you find them holding you back online or at work, you can address them. If you see something you dislike on social media, ignore it. Scroll by. Find a drama-free way to mute or unfollow the author.

 

Start every workday in a pleasant way by greeting people around you. And when you hear someone complaining at work, resist the urge to join in and physically walk away. Just like with a child or a dog, you get the behavior that you reinforce from other people.

 

Extinction therapy, which has its roots in Pavlovian psychology, means if you ignore behavior that bothers you, eventually most people will give up and move along to another target, giving you space to inject more positivity. This will help you to do what you came to do, work, in a more pleasant mental and physical space.

 

I work for Monster Worldwide. Views expressed are my own and do not reflect my employer’s. Follow me on Twitter.

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