Venting Ethics

 People have gotten in trouble, and still are, over various tweets, Facebook updates and blog posts. Which begs the question, is it possible to complain about your job openly online and not get fired/reprimanded? I mean it’s not like I don’t understand, people need to be able to vent their frustrations. But if you’re going to do it, at least be professional about it:

  • Unless you’re ready to lose your job or clients, don’t mention names.
    • This part is more about your ORM than anything. Who wants to hire someone that complains all the time or work with a company whose employees pick on their clients?
    • If something happens internally at your office, don’t make it a public affair.
    • Calling in sick? Don’t tweet you’re preparing your letter of resignation or that you’re heading to Disney World.
      • Or anything that conveys you’re doing anything but recovering from illness.
      • Also avoid posting photos from the day’s activities, unless they are of you playing basketball with Kleenexes.
      • Eye-balling a fellow co-worker? Taking photos of your object of affection and posting them online might not be a good idea unless you want HR stopping by your cubicle.

Can you get away with ignoring everything above? Yes. But the real question becomes can you be okay with setting Twitter, Facebook and even your blog to private? Even if you were to create separate accounts for the sole purpose of venting where you can’t take credit, can you handle not having the attention? If you can then go ahead, but if not, ask yourself, “Why am I working here?”

If all you’re doing is whining crying throwing tantrums worse than my two year old complaining, why aren’t you doing something to change the situation? It’s best for all parties involved to either rectify the situation or just leave. People that do nothing but complain tend to bring down the morale of those around them, which doesn’t help the company at all. If a person does decide to leave graciously rather than getting fired, that person can at least leave with his/her reputation somewhat intact.

So what about you? Do you think it’s fair for employers to use public updates by employees to fire them? Or are employees protected by free speech?


  1. A person’s online behavior is a representation of who they are online and offline. We’ve heard the saying, “out of the mouth, the heart speaks.” Well, the same thing applies toward what comes from the keyboard.

    Is it possible to “vent” openly w/o consequences? No! There are consequences to everything we say and share publicly. It’s time people start becoming more responsible about their social media activities.

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