But you seem like the sort of smart, savvy job hunter who already knew that. Your Facebook is undoubtedly private, your Twitter account free of offensive slurs. You’d never dream of desecrating your company product or making a mock ISIS execution video.
But neither did the seven people below. Every last one of them lost a job because of a normal, common, understandable behavior – a behavior that you’ve probably done yourself. Consider yourself warned.
1. Asking for Advice
Imagine this. You’ve landed two awesome job offers, which you’re now trying to choose between. Both have pros and cons, and you’re worried about making the wrong decision. So what do you do? Turn to someone else for advice, right?
That’s exactly what this engineer did, except they asked Quora (a popular question-and-answer forum). The job hunter was generally very positive and respectful about both companies, though they did voice concern that one option, Zenefits, “wasn’t a buzzword” like the other company, Uber. Cue a manager of Zenefits finding the post, throwing a hissy fit about the questioner’s inability to “get” the company, and rescinding the offer.
2. Using Your Phone at Work
The thing about smartphones is they’re portable and full of information and oh-so distracting. How many of us having had a cheeky peek at our messages when we should have been working?
Unfortunately, using her phone at work cost Kim Lehmkuhl her job as a city hall clerk. After being caught tweeting during a meeting when she was supposed to be taking minutes, she was accused of slacking off and pushed into quitting.
3. Mixing Up Accounts
Poor Scott Bartosiewicz thought he was posting an irate but relatively inoffensive tweet from his private account. After all he was out of the office, stuck in the car with his mind far from his marketing day-job. Unfortunately, a mix-up meant that the tweet went from his employer Chrysler’s account instead.
Okay, a car manufacturing tweeting that “no one [in Detroit] knows how to f*cking drive” isn’t great PR. But anyone who has ever accidentally sent an email to the wrong recipient (i.e. all of us) can surely sympathize.
4. Drinking Alcohol Legally and Responsibly
Ashley Payne is a teacher. She’s also over 21, and occasionally likes to enjoy an alcoholic drink. She has a private Facebook account, and one ill-fated day she posted a photograph of herself, on holiday, holding a drink in her hand. Ashley does not appear drunk in the photograph. There’s no suggestion she’s ever drank or acted inappropriately at work or around the children.
But the mere association of her with alcohol was unacceptable to her employer, who promptly fired her. Harsh? Ashley thought so. She sued them.