The following statements were actually posted by employees on social media sites from their workstations, during business hours:
“Staff meeting is over. Thanks for sucking the life out of me–again.” [Brandon]
Ummm, hello, Brandon. Are you really that unhappy? Are you aware that your message can be read as: Brandon is a reactive, whiny drama-king who lacks the gumption to leave a job that sucks?
Really, Allison? Did you leave your brain at home this morning? I’d suggest you will find it hidden underneath that sack of ambition, which you also forgot to bring to work today.
It’s not hard to see from the episodes above how easy it is to damage one’s personal brand in the professional world. But what about one’s personal brand equity as it relates to the social world?
Do any of you have a friend who is otherwise Optimistic Oliver–but transforms into Pessimistic Pete online? I do. This guy presents himself as the polished, positive overachiever in the flesh. But on Facebook, all he does is complain. Here’s a sampling of his recent status updates:
“I can’t believe it’s still only Thursday. This week is killing me.”
“Some people just plain suck. Truly.”
“Sub shop for lunch today. Convinced it’s impossible to find good food in this town. Service was horrible too.”
Hope you feel better now that you’ve vented, Pete. Were you hoping for a response … maybe some empathy? Thanks for bringing us all down!
To maximize your personal brand equity, you must be 100% intentional about the image you project. Granted, it’s totally natural to become frustrated, and everyone feels the need to vent from time to time. When you’re in that spot, reach out to a friend or family member and talk (or IM, DM or SMS) through your complaints on a one-to-one basis–not a one-to-many basis. If you want to accelerate your success, focus on being consistent across all forums… from real world interactions to virtual world posts. In today’s connected world, the boundaries between work and personal are blurred to a greater extent than ever before.
Stop and take 10 minutes–right now–to go back and review what you’ve been posting, Tweeting and otherwise sharing. What does it say about you–in a professional context–and in a personal context?
To learn more about this and other forms of professional etiquette, as well as techniques for accelerating your success at work, check out my new book, “Effective Immediately: How to Fit In, Stand Out and Move Up at Your First Real Job.”