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Social Networking and Your Job: Lessons from the "Cisco Fatty"

Social Networking and Your Job: Lessons from the "Cisco Fatty"

Tania Khadder

March 18, 2009

The internet is buzzing with tales of the latest web 2.0 casualty –the Cisco Fatty. The person who managed to jeopardize a new, high paying job, in 140 characters or less.   

After receiving an offer from communications giant Cisco Systems, the jobseeker Twittered about it, telling his followers that although he had been offered a “fatty” paycheck, he wasn’t sure he would be able to endure the commute and “hating the work”.   

Soon thereafter, Cisco’s Tim Levad saw the tweet, and responded: “Who is the hiring manager? I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.”

We don’t know yet how this story ends. We do, however, know that there is a big lesson to be learned here. The same lesson we can take from other, similarly excruciating stories of social networking, and its assault on professionalism.

We all know that these days, the line between work and play is increasingly blurred. And social networking sites are no longer just for extroverted teenagers or tech-savvy college students. Your mom is on Facebook. So, more likely than not, so is your boss. And you can’t exactly ignore his friend request.  What you can do is avoid embarrassment, and possible joblessness, by being smart about your online activity.

Nothing is really private
Keep in mind that anything you say online could potentially be seen by your employer. Even if they aren’t a friend or follower, and even if your account is set to private. You never know which one of your contacts is friends with your boss, knows his wife or goes to school with his children. It’s called the Web for a reason. Virtual connections are vast, and they aren’t always transparent. If you wouldn’t want your employer to see it, keep it offline. It’s good practice to just assume that once you’ve put it online, it’s public. 


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