Today is the day. At his desk Colin grabs his cell and furiously tweets “And the word of the day is … Resignation.” The word liberates as much as a surface breath after a deep water dive. Colin knows he’s now committed to this statement. Co-workers instantly flood his office. The buzz of his tweet has had a domino effect through each cubicle. Colin doesn’t care. He heads down the hall towards the copy room looking for a cardboard box to carry out his cactus and other personal belongings. The rush Colin feels matches the urgency in how he collects his things. But the questions that must be asked are, has Colin done the right thing? How will this affect him tomorrow?
“Whoever said that things have to be useful?” – Evan Williams, Twitter co-founder and CEO
Ours is an era where Facebook memes trend where people throw their hands in the air with witty statements about quitting their jobs. Social media has become an emotional outlet for people who feel alone or frustrated and want to share problems via the Internet. Undoubtedly, these are entertaining channels for millions of people who despise their jobs but enjoy creating a collective, relatable experience. Psychologically speaking this isn’t necessarily harmful. Let’s not forget that before memes and GIFs, people had sarcastic posters, novelty mugs, and even films that played out our most private daydreams of calling it quits in the office.
Most of us have imagined being Colin at some point in our professional careers. We imagine the thrill of screaming from the rooftops “I Quit”, or the image of Tom Cruise in Jerry McGuire dramatically flailing his briefcase as he shouts, “Who’s coming with me?” These are the stuff of dreams as you sit cramped in phone booth-sized office. Perhaps you dream of making a more volatile exit … producing two middle fingers like Jennifer Aniston in Office Space.
The thing that is missing from these older movies is the impact that those resignations would have in today’s interconnected world. Today, social media and the ease of sharing information far and wide make it easy to quit your job in a way that’s evident to everyone. As a result, the ability to share like this is a much newer concept and one that presents new consequences.
“I’ve had to learn when not to tweet. Like, you learn how to keep your mouth shut? Learn to keep your tweet shut.” – @thatdanstevens
Here are four basic rules when you talk about work-related issues, like resignation, online:
- Don’t text, tweet or post about personal issues within your profession unless it’s to promote the business or compliment the people you work with or for.
- If you decide to ignore rule #1 and feel the persistent need to share everything online, be prepared that it will be seen indiscriminately. You can never predict or manage who will view your status reports. Keep that in mind.
- If you plan to resign from a job and really don’t care what the boss or overall establishment thinks about you, think again. Just because you won’t have to answer to them doesn’t mean they don’t have connections. They also have the ability to use their own social media channels to return the not so complimentary favour.
- Finally, stay classy and humble online, especially when it comes to work-related issues. Even in the most frustrating times where injustices at the office happen daily, stay calm. Try to take deep breaths and think of ways to solve this problem tactfully and proactively with real actions and words. Resist shouting into a virtual space.
More than career coaching, it’s career psychology®.
I/O Advisory Services – Building Resilient Careers and Organizations.
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