Friday, March 25, 2011

Online etiquette flubs could crush your career

More than three-quarters of HR executives said in a recent survey that technology-related gaffes can be hazardous to your job.
By Anne Fisher, contributor

Dear Annie: I absolutely agree with your post about office distractions like March Madness being no big deal, but it reminded me of a question I've been meaning to ask for a while now. To wit, at what point does multitasking morph into plain old rudeness?

Certain people where I work seem to be so addicted to their BlackBerries that they miss half of what is said in meetings. Then they waste other people's time afterwards asking about things that were covered while they were texting, checking their messages, etc.

Also, the same individuals seem to have no sense of boundaries, so they will send tweets that embarrass other people by raising issues that are really better discussed privately, one on one. A few people here also use texting abbreviations for everything, even in regular emails, so that half the time you can't tell what they're trying to say. Then there are those who constantly "ping" others with instant messages, which is distracting when you're trying to concentrate on actual work.

Sorry to rant, but I'd love to know whether it's just me, or do others find this kind of behavior unacceptable as well? What do you and your readers think? —Biting My Tongue

Dear BMT: Funny, isn't it, how some people seem to view technology as an excuse to abandon basic courtesy and simple common sense? Rest assured that you aren't the only one who finds this tendency alarming, or at least annoying.

Consider: 76% of human resources managers believe that "technology etiquette breaches" --including checking email during meetings -- could "adversely affect a person's career prospects," according to a report from global staffing giant Robert Half International.

"Mistakes like sending a confidential email to the wrong person, or impulsively posting an offensive comment on Facebook or Twitter, can have serious, career-impacting consequences," observes Robert Half executive Brett Good.

If you would like to help your clueless colleagues avoid such fallout (which I realize is a big "if"), one alternative to biting your tongue would be to suggest they download RHI's new, free online guide, Business Etiquette: The New Rules in a Digital Age.

A compilation of advice from Robert Half's own executives and half a dozen etiquette experts and new-media gurus, the guide includes a few cautionary tales, like the one about a job candidate who, when offered a job by Cisco Systems, sent out this overly candid tweet: "Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work."
Someone from Cisco tweeted back: "Who is the hiring manager? I'm sure they would love to know that you will hate the work."

Read the rest of the Fortune Article

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