Media and the Workplace: Work Values VS New Media
Many of you may not know this, but I have a background in Human Resources. I worked HR for the military, Corporate sector, a medium sized business and local government. Together, I have over ten years of human resources experience. I recently have taken a “sabbatical” due to some family issues in South Florida but my knowledge of HR is still pretty much intact.
This week has been an interesting week for anyone in the world of Human Resources. We have a girl that decides to quit through email pictures and a “hero” that steals company property, insults customers and places himself as well as others in physical danger. I think that today’s modern workforce is increasingly unaware of the dangers of new media such as Facebook, Twitter, Digg among others. Employers are also very concerned since new media travels quickly and their company can receive the praise or the disgust of literally thousands of people in the timeframe of mere minutes.
Some of you have heard about “Jenny” the HPOA (Hot Piece of Ass) that creatively quit her job by supposedly emailing her coworkers pictures of herself with a dry erase board explaining her reason why she was quitting. Basically, she quit because her boss “Spencer” called her a HPOA so she took it upon herself to quit and inform all of her coworkers about what Spencer’s activities online were. The story can be found here: http://thechive.com/2010/08/10/girl-quits-her-job-on-dry-erase-board-emails-entire-office-33-photos/
However, Jenny’s creative form of quitting was an elaborate hoax by the people at The Chive.com. Sadly, the story of Steven Slater (a now former flight attendant of Jetblue) is real. This employee cursed at a passenger, then took airline property (beer for the flight) opened the airplane’s hatch and slid down into the runway. I’m not sure how many FAA violations he committed, but just the fact that he did do that would be more than enough to fire someone for “gross misconduct”. The rest of the story can be found at http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/08/10/national/main6760079.shtml?tag=topnews
We all have had our bad days at work, some worse than others. My parents have told me that in the old days of employee stress and frustration, they usually went to a bar knocked a few beers and bitched about the boss behind their backs. Employers would also talk about how lazy their employees with other members of management over cigars or martinis. In the digital age where information travels faster than the speed of sound, internal frustration can lead to public humiliation or worse public disgust with a company.
While Jenny’s stunt may have been fake, it would probably motivate others to quit in such a fashion. But what does that create afterward? For employers it just lowers office morale, especially if all dirty laundry is aired on company time (and on company computers) For the unknowing soon to be former employee, it means a disaster in the network of employment. We’re in a recession, no one wants to lose a well paying job. Quitting is such a reckless manner and making it public prompts other employers to says “I don’t want that kind of person in my company.” In the competitive rat race, that employee has now landed on a glue trap.
Social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and others are quickly replacing the office magpie who at least had the courtesy to keep it by the water cooler and only believed half of the time. When employers fail to recognize the dangers of social media, then productivity is harmed, and customers who are aware of these actions may steer away from their products.
We’re rapidly coming to an age where the more outrageous you become, the more of a hero you will be seen by the eyes of the public. If this the next step of evolution in the American workforce, then we are in a lot of trouble. If there is no pride in work, then quality is jeopardized and if quality is affected it could result in customers not buying our product which will lead to more outsourcing and hurt even more American jobs.
Social media is great! It has now become a necessary tool for the workforce and for advertising. But with such great information comes great responsibility. As conservatives we must learn to adapt to a younger and more technologically advanced (and somewhat socially detached) workforce. But with careful attention on behalf of management and employees, scenarios like with Jetblue and others can be controlled internally or at least have a plan for damage control. But if you have to quit, at least quit with some dignity.