By The Oyemaja Executives, a division of The Oyemaja Group
In 2019, a Quora user lamented of being called a liar by his boss. According to him, he’d asked for a day off from work because he was feeling sick. While at home, he posted a picture of himself at a restaurant he’d gone to 3 days earlier. He included the caption - “some chilling moment”. The following day, his boss accused him of lying about his health to get off work. His explanations didn’t help.
The first rule on the unwritten manual of employees is to block your employers on every social media platform. The second is to block your fellow employees; you do not know who’s snitching on you. If you fail to do so from day 1, you might have a really difficult life at work. For instance, you are a Chelsea fan and your boss is hard core Liverpool; if Chelsea wins a match against Liverpool tonight, guess who’s getting more files to sort at the office tomorrow? Here’s another: try uploading cute bikini pictures at the beach on your WhatsApp status. Your boss might think he’s not giving you enough work. Even more files to sort.
Personal lives should be separated from business, but the reality is that business is often personal. If you hurl insults at the CEO in traffic, outside office hours, you might as well update your LinkedIn profile to “Open to Work”. It’s equally not smart to openly criticize your superiors on social media, even on things unrelated to work. The only way you can be wild and free on “Obasanjo’s Internet” is blocking everyone.
However, companies sometimes thrive on the goodwill, and employees represent the values of a company. Where an employee conducts himself in a manner that damages the reputation of the company, even outside working hours, an employer may be justified in letting such worker go. Employers, as a matter of fact, include this as a clause in the contract agreement. So, where an employee constantly engages in bar fights, thereby affecting the organization’s public image, an employer may not be bound to retain such a worker. Should such damaging activity happen on social media e.g. hate speech, the employer is equally justified. Blocking your employers in such instances, does little to help. Word would get to him and you can kiss your office desk goodbye.
Moreover, some companies usually undertake extensive background checks on job applicants. Attempting to fish out and block every employee in that company is a waste of time. The founder’s just gonna borrow his niece’s phone. Should your tweets and snaps not sit well with him, you aren’t getting an offer.
Nevertheless, employees are entitled to their privacy. You have the right to choose who views your posts online. You can block your boss just as you blocked your mum from seeing your club videos. But imagine working in a company like Google or Facebook with thousands of employees all over the world. You can try, but you cannot possibly block everyone. And…..imagine trying to prevent Google from seeing your online activities……..
So, how do you play the game?
By not playing it. Read the room. Observe the atmosphere at work. Check the written and unwritten rules. Good luck.
The Oyemaja Executives.