For a long time, employees, especially from older generations have treated news of being laid off as a taboo topic, taking their severance pay and walking away quietly.
The millennial and Generation-Z worker is, however, big on sharing just about every aspect of his or her personal life and has not been shy about posting such news on social media platforms.
For some, it is about getting their fans’ feedback on the matter, more where they feel their job termination was unfair. Others want to shed light on how they got fired just to lift the weight off their chest.
A year ago, Beryl Otieno was axed by an employer after she raised concerns about a breach in her contract terms. She made a post on her social media page detailing the terms of the contract, her skill set, and what she found when she joined the organisation.
Her post, she says, was meant to create awareness that employers can breach the contract, hence serving as a cautionary tale to her friends to always be on the lookout.
“Scout for other opportunities when you are still there. One leg in, one leg out,” she said in the post.
Ms Otieno emphasises that she was not scared the post would have negative repercussions since she was objective. The exposure her post generated earned her a job offer.
Sarah Munyi, a life coach at LeadPro Afrika Consultants, notes that while posting on social media and other digital platforms could have positive outcomes such as Ms Otieno’s case, one needs to be careful how they go about it. A post, she says, is a double-edged sword that could build one’s profile or destroy it.
Although losing a job is not something pleasant with the losses taking a toll on one emotionally, psychologically, and financially, Ms Munyi says sometimes posting on social media is for emotional support or justice.
There being no rules on posting when one is fired, Ms Munyi says one can have a run with their wording ensuring they send a message of their current job status.
For instance, having a post that reads, ‘Open for work in this area’ or ‘looking for an opportunity in this area’ sends the intended message. The choice of words, tone, and attitude should guide how one makes posts about being fired or laid off.
“The post should not show desperation or have a begging tone. Let the message show and retain your self-worth, what you intend to bring to the table,” she adds.
Kagondu Junior, a career coach with Mind Care Africa says even though you can post about a job loss, the focus should be on your job description from your previous position as well as some of your achievements.
“As you share your gratitude towards the opportunity you had with your previous employer, you are indirectly sharing your credentials as you invite for a job opportunity that suits you.”
Objectivity is also a key consideration when making public posts. This means that the post should be a selling point for your brand in terms of your qualification and what your potential employer will benefit from you.
“It should be an opportunity to put yourself out there as you invite your next employer,” he adds.
However, Ms Munyi cautions that saying one is open to any job puts them at the receiving end and once an opportunity is offered, they might not be able to negotiate the terms of the contract or even salary.
However, posts about “a ‘rogue’ employer who unfairly fired you are not ideal,” Ms Munyi says, pointing out that social media might not be as much of a help as compared to seeking redress in the court for justice.
“Posting on social media is subjecting yourself to the court of public opinion, both good and nasty whilst putting your previous employer in a bad light. Your potential employer might also chicken out on hiring you for fear of you doing the same.”
Although being unhappy with your employer more often than not is inevitable, tarnishing their name online is not recommended with Ms Munyi saying there are ways to resolve conflicts that will not leave one with an egg on their face.
“Sullying your employer’s image online paints a picture of who you are. Remember that the Internet never forgets and recruiters peruse your social media platforms to see what you post,” she opines.
If one must post something that puts their former employer in a bad light, Ms Munyi advises that it is best to have evidence of the claims, and even then, the choice of words used is key.
Though making posts by not mentioning names might be ideal, Ms Munyi says before any public post on social media, one should question their motive. This, however, does not apply to public persons in private or public organisations.
Above all, the life coach advises that all posts without a mention of skills and capabilities are of little benefit because “at the end of the day, you are searching for another job, whether you were unfairly fired or let go in a just manner”.
“Jobless people shy from telling people because of their ego and prestige but that makes them continue suffering in their joblessness.”
With social media easing up the way people make connections, Ms Munyi advocates for the use of social media for gains. Growing the muscle and courage of publicly posting and saying one’s skills could be the one step to their employment opportunity.
“If you can get 100 comments posting about soccer, celebrities, or personalities you admire, why not post about your skills and expertise? Even though you might not get the comments, people will see what you can do,” she says.
People are the real opportunities and leveraging that through posts on social media, is a win for you.
“Post value to get value.”