Do you hate your job? You’re in luck. Getting fired has never been easier thanks to the Internet.
A Florida high school teacher recently lost her job after lewd photos from a racy modeling session were dredged up online. And an Idaho high-school coach was fired after posting a barely questionable photo with her fiancee on Facebook.
It just goes to show that nothing stays hidden on the Web for long.
If you want to stay employed, here are five things you should avoid at all costs.
1. Saving your online passwords on a work computer.
It may sound obvious, but to countless office workers it’s breaking news: Your work computer is not yours! It belongs to your company and they have every right to snoop on everything you’re doing with it.
Unless you want to give your boss free reign of your Facebook page, your bank accounts and your email, keep those passwords private. Never allow your browser to save passwords for your personal accounts. Or even better, don’t log on to your accounts at all on your work computer. If you have to, however, be sure to use your browser’s privacy mode. Go to http://www.komando.com/tips/index.aspx?id=13936 to learn how.
2. Sending inappropriate emails and instant messages.
Human resource managers around the country are nodding their head as they read this one. When you make an inappropriate joke or an insensitive comment around the water cooler, you can get lucky and it will disappear unnoticed. But when you put it in writing and distribute it around the office, it’s on the record.
A bad joke can get magnified with every forward, and even “private” instant message chat logs tend to stick around. There’s no hiding from a rude remark when your email address or username is attached to it. Keep it to yourself.
3. Taking a picture inside your office and posting it online.
Let’s say you work at a bank. You’re looking super-cute today and you just can’t help it: #selfie! You post it online so everyone can see how good you look. Unfortunately, you might be sharing more than you planned.
Someone’s account information might be on your computer screen and show up in the background. Thieves could see what security system the bank uses. If you work in the health care industry, any patient or identifying information that pops up in your photo is a HIPAA violation. There could be fines or even jail time.
If your workplace doesn’t already have a policy in place regarding photographs of the office, it will soon.
Unintentional breaches in security and violations of privacy are becoming too common.
4. Posting an “anonymous” review or comment.
If you post online reviews and comments while on your work computer, it’s open to prying eyes. But what about anonymous venting on your own time? If it reflects negatively on your employer, I’d advise against it.
Did you hear about the Bitter Barista? He was a coffee shop worker who ran a popular blog where he complained about customers. He wrote it under a pseudonym, but another blog eventually outed him. Despite working at the cafe for 2½ years, his employer had no choice but to fire him. The lesson: You’re not as anonymous as you might think.
Do you remember some comments you made a while ago on Facebook that you should probably take down? Go to http://www.komando.com/tips/index.aspx?id=14836 to learn how Facebook’s Graph Search tool can help you find them.
5. Lying about your past or taking a fake sick day
You might think fudging your resume is a great way to get that job. Maybe so, but it’s also a great way to lose that job. It’s easier than ever for an employer to track down gaps and inconsistencies in your work history or education. A quick glance at your LinkedIn profile or your Facebook page could reveal the awful truth.
That goes double for those days you feel like playing hooky. In the 21st century, Ferris Bueller would never have gotten away with his epic Day Off. Mr. Rooney would have seen what he was doing on Twitter long before the Von Steuben Day Parade.
Here’s a real world example: A New Zealand man took some sick days to compete in a boat race. He lost his job after this smarty-pant’s boss saw the championship photos on Facebook. #fail!
Don’t let your boss find any dirt on you. Go here http://www.komando.com/tips/index.aspx?id=11609 to find and remove online information that makes you look bad.
Kim Komando hosts the nation’s largest talk radio show about consumer electronics, computers and the Internet. Hear it locally at 94.3 WSC News Radio noon-3 p.m. Sundays. For more information, go to www.komando.com.