Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Trash Talking the Boss

by Lawyer Working Girl

The past few weeks at work have been long and stressful. One week I worked Monday through the next Sunday. I was getting very little sleep and it was taking a toll on my mood. Yes, Working Girls, I was moody, but I can tell you that I was not the only one. I've been feeling the stress level rise around the office for the last few weeks. Smiles have worn off people's faces, colleagues are getting confrontational with each other, and employees are snapping at their superiors.

I have a couple of colleagues with whom I can bad talk the job or the people we work with only because I truly trust them and they trust me enough to be honest about how they are feeling on the job. I know some of you think that's probably a bad move--trash talking with coworkers--but I think some trash talk is expected at work amongst employees, right?

I also find myself tweeting my feelings some days. I'm never specific, never name names, and I've never tweeted the name of my company. It's usually something very generic like, "My patience is wearing thin" on a day when someone was trying to tell me how to do my job. If my boss read my tweets, I don't think he or she would find anything pointing to him or her or the company, but I have wondered if anyone monitors our personal online activities.

I recently read an article that discusses this very thing. There was a case in Connecticut where the National Labor Relations Board ruled that a company cannot fire its employees for complaining about their bosses on Facebook. I'm kind of for this ruling and against this ruling (just like a lawyer, huh?).

On one hand, I believe that employees should be allowed to live their personal lives without the company butting in; but on the other hand, if someone is out there bashing the company's image or disrespecting the boss, I don't think that should be tolerated. I mean, it's one thing to talk about your boss (which I never do because I actually like my boss a lot) or company or colleagues amongst your colleagues, but when you start bad-mouthing to the outside world that's different. You're possibly damaging your company's image. I think of it as most people think of their families--it's ok for you to talk about your family members, but as soon as someone outside of the family says something, it's not ok.

Working Girls, what are your thoughts on this? Do you find yourself venting through social media? How do you ensure that it doesn't affect your career?


14 comments:

GUAMtastic said...

Just be sure that you don't at some point add that boss as a FB friend... and make sure your social circles never collide. But if you can't bitch about your boss in the comforts of your own friend circles, really, when can you?

Lawyer Working Girl said...

We've had an office discussion about Facebook friending each other and we've kind of come to the conclusion that there isn't a reason for us to be Facebook friends with each other, unless we genuinely are good friends outside of work.

Mrs Soup said...

Venting is a healthy way to relieve stress. Especially since even they trash talk the employees (having been on both sides of a discussion, I can guarantee it). It's easier/more stress relieving to do it with coworkers as well than just with outside friends or partners. They don't understand it as well as a coworker does!

Amy said...

I agree - I think it's healthy. I work on a small team but there's one guy who I feel free to vent to, and he does the same to me. If I didn't have him to unload on, I'd probably resort to social media...which wouldn't be good!

MonsteRawr said...

I am aware that I have a very unorthodox workplace. I have a very different relationship with my bosses than most people, one where I can tell my boss to go fuck himself in jest and he flicks me off in return. So trash talking the boss isn't really an issue, because I do it to his face regularly. That being said, I do bitch like you do on Twitter; no names, no specific events, more general statements. I don't think my bosses read my Twitter, (mostly because they don't care,) but if they do, they don't care what I say as long as I don't say negative things that could piss off a client.

Angeline said...

Venting is definitely necessary sometimes, but I don't know that social networks are the best place for it. I try my hardest not to do so (I'll usually text someone instead), because I definitely notice when others are doing it, and it doesn't look good from the outside. At my org, it's pretty common to be FB or Twitter friends with coworkers, so I try to keep things offline (lunch hour, after hours, etc.).

Another thing I keep in the back of my mind when I've been tempted to tweet/vent is that I don't want anyone to think I can't handle the stresses of my job. It's a competitive world out there, and no one needs to know when I'm having a moment of weakness. But maybe that's just me. :)

Lawyer Working Girl said...

I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who needs to vent sometimes. Lol. I was afraid you all would tell me I'm crazy to be trash talking with coworkers.

With that said, I think Angeline did raise a good point about not creating the perception that you can't handle stress when you vent via social media. I will definitely keep that in mind!

Anonymous said...

As someone who got fired for calling her boss a snake on Twitter... I think this ruling is a good thing.

Amy said...

Venting is sometimes the only way to work through emotions in a frustrating work environment. I too, do my best to shy away from using specific names. Thanks for helping me realize that these situations exist in any arena and I'm not the only one!

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