5 Tips to Avoid Job-Jeopardizing Online Blunders

Photo (cc) by @boetter

I still remember when my old boss friended me on Facebook. I hesitated to accept but worried that declining might offend her.

After deliberating for half a week, I friended her but established privacy settings to prevent her from seeing every update I made. According to Robert Half International, I did the right thing – but many employees don’t.

The 63-year-old specialized staffing firm recently polled 650 HR managers about the negative effects of online blunders that employees make via social media sites like Facebook, professional networking sites like LinkedIn, and even email.

Every HR manager was asked this key question:

“To what extent, if any, can technology etiquette breaches – for example, sending e-mail messages to unintended recipients, checking e-mail on a BlackBerry during meetings, etc. – adversely affect a person’s career prospects?”

A whopping 76 percent said “greatly” or “somewhat.”

“Etiquette breaches, such as paying more attention to your smartphone than the people you’re meeting with, can make others feel less important and cause you to miss information,” said Brett Good, a president at RHI. “Other mistakes, such as sending a confidential e-mail to the wrong person or impulsively posting an offensive comment on Facebook or Twitter, can have more serious, career-impacting consequences.”

To help employees avoid making them, RHI grouped these e-mistakes into five types of “technology etiquette breachers” and offered this advice to each:

  1. The Venter. This indiscreet individual never misses an opportunity to document a bad work situation. Job-related gripes and groans get splashed across Facebook, Twitter and her personal blog. E-mail, too, takes a decidedly negative tone. Advice: Look on the bright side. To avoid this label, keep the information that you post positive. Sticky or unpleasant situations are best discussed offline and in private.
  2. The Noise Polluter. This person’s phone seems to lack a silent mode or an off button. Whether in a meeting or at a colleague’s desk, he freely takes and makes calls, oblivious to his surroundings. Between noisy ring tones and loud public broadcasts of personal conversations, it’s impossible to concentrate when he’s nearby. Advice: To keep office noise at a minimum, set your phone to silent mode at the office, and hold personal conversations behind closed doors.
  3. The Cryptic Communicator. This person relies on texting shorthand for every type of correspondence. Odd or informal abbreviations, poor punctuation, and spelling and grammatical goofs leave people shaking their heads – and pleading for clarification. Advice: Slow down, and take it easy on the abbreviations. Spending a little more time on your communications can make them easier to decipher.
  4. The Pop-Up Artist. While you’re trying to complete assignments, this chat fanatic insists on sending you a flurry of instant messages. Throughout the day, you’re subjected to the pings and pops of incoming IMs: RUTHERE? CYE [check your e-mail]! Advice: IMs are fine for quick volleys of conversations, but don’t go overboard. And don’t expect that everyone will want to “chat” with you. For many, e-mail is immediate enough.
  5. The Conference Call Con. This multitasker pretends to pay attention during teleconferences but is so busy checking e-mail he has no clue what’s being discussed. It’s not an unusual problem: 45 percent of executives confessed to frequently doing other things while in these meetings, according to another Robert Half survey. Advice: Although we all multitask from time to time, pay attention to relevant conversations when on conference calls. It can help to turn away from your monitor so you’re not distracted by e-mail.

If you’re still worried about losing your job over an online gaffe, you may also want to check out RHI’s new book, Business Etiquette: The New Rules in a Digital Age – it’s a free download.

If online gaffes have already cost you your job – or if you’re currently job-searching for any other reason – be sure to check out How Not to Land a Job: 18 Interview No-Nos.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
The 5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
The 5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

10 Common Ways Seniors Get Scammed
10 Common Ways Seniors Get Scammed

Here’s what to watch for to make sure you don’t fall prey to some of the biggest rip-offs targeting seniors.

Never Put These 8 Things in a Microwave Oven
Never Put These 8 Things in a Microwave Oven

A microwave can be a busy cook’s best friend. But heating certain things in a microwave can cause disaster.

This Pastime Can Keep Your Brain Sharp as You Age
This Pastime Can Keep Your Brain Sharp as You Age

It’s never too late to benefit from taking up this type of activity.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value
7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value

You can add value to your home without hiring a contractor to do expensive renovations.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.