Employees Using Social Media

Recently, I watched a webinar about 2022 social media trends. I work in Marketing so I was interested to learn and see some data. Of course the typical topics came up like branding, as well as some new and timely ones like the metaverse. But then the panelists began talking about employees using social media to get messaging out. Rather than having info come from the brand account, it’s suggested that this year, employees be the ones to promote work.

And this concerns me greatly.

Woah woah woah gif.

I understand the concept of it and why in an ideal world this could be a useful way to present your messaging in a new and maybe more authentic way. But I think it’s a very big, unreasonable, and controlling ask.

I wouldn’t say I ‘grew up with the internet’ but when I got to high school, it was a very big and constant part of my life (for reference if it helps, I’m almost 26 years old). As Facebook and chatrooms became a thing that my peers would participate in, we’d get constant lectures at school about internet safety. At first it was don’t talk to strangers and reveal personal info. Then, as we got older, it was don’t post things you don’t want employers to see. It’s common knowledge now, though I can’t say if it’s common practice, that employers may go through your social media when deciding to hire you. Heck, maybe they do it even after hiring you too. Therefore, everyone should take care to present their best selves and censor certain things (related: this post on what I don’t blog about). It can’t be a coincidence that almost all my peers (again, I am almost 26) have their personal Instagram and Twitter accounts set to private, even if they aren’t posting anything inappropriate.

Lock it up gif.

Social media is supposed to be fun and personal, and what you do with it in your free time is yours. A company asking you to use your personal accounts in certain ways and controlling that narrative is a huge overstep. No longer would an employee be allowed to have a private online life and interests out of work if their profiles are being used to prop up company messaging. I don’t want to see ads for whatever product in between pictures of that employee’s kids, ya know?

It also just has such insidious vibes. No one’s going to believe some low level Amazon employee going on Twitter saying “Wow Amazon is great and my work conditions are fine!” because you know that’s not true. Obviously that’s an extreme example, but I feel like companies shouldn’t have to use their employees like puppets to prove they’re a good company. Pay people what they’re worth, treat them fairly, and don’t try to own them.

Its Not that Hard GIF.

If employees want to use their platforms to promote their work and the company, then that’s one thing. I certainly think there can be value to this. Referral/affiliate programs are great and certainly incentivize promotion. Maybe the professional atmosphere of LinkedIn is a great compromise for both parties. My point and initial worry with this whole concept is that it shouldn’t be mandatory. Companies shouldn’t hire based on whose social media they can leverage. Painting it as an easy trend that every brand should lean into is perhaps not a great idea.

What are your thoughts? Would you use your social media platforms to promote and advocate for the company you work for? Are your profiles safe for work and would you be comfortable with bosses and coworkers having access to see it all?

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Are Songs Good Or Just Familiar?

A while back, I started doing this thing where I’d pick a singer/band whose music enjoy from what I know and listen to their whole discography from start to finish. I need music on while at work, and this project allowed me to put something on and not constantly fiddle with changing songs. Mostly I do this with singers/bands from the 70’s and 80’s who I obviously couldn’t hear during their prime. It’s been very cool to expose myself to new songs and see how an artist can change over decades.

Listening To Music  while i work gif.

But one thing I’ve learned and find very interesting is that the songs we know and love may not be that great, they’re just simply very familiar to us. There are artists like Bryan Adams, Aerosmith, or Blue Rodeo where I really liked all their songs/singles that I knew going in (or all the ones that my local oldies radio station plays at least). So I thought I’d go into their albums and find many more great songs I’d love just as much. But I did not. Yes, there were some songs that jumped to my attention, but overall, no matter who I listened to (the one and only exception being Billy Joel), I just found a bunch of mediocre songs. So were the singles on the radio the best of the best? Unlikely. I think they’re just ones that are familiar so I guess our brains appreciate them more.

Of course, I didn’t and don’t expect every single song an artist releases to be a perfect hit, instantly classic, and ideal for my tastes, but still. I went through whole albums for so many artists finding nothing that I really latched on to.

I was expecting more gif.

That being said, I do realize that there are some issues with how I consumed all this music. Firstly, I only listened to the album once. I don’t have the desire to give it all multiple listens to better absorb them (especially for some artists like Chicago who have literally 30 full albums. Bros…chill…). Secondly, as I mentioned, I’m listening while I’m working. So my brain isn’t in the mode to process the music fully because I’m busy focusing on my job. Perhaps if I was just listening and really able to completely focus, I’d better appreciate some songs more. Maybe.

The title of this post makes it seem like songs can’t be both good and familiar, which is not true, but I guess it has made me question things a little. Are the artists I like genuinely great, timeless creators or has my brain tricked me into thinking a few familiar songs are enough to cement that person into history? Did they just get lucky with those big songs and really have little else to show for a career? Much to think about. I’d love to know if anyone else has dove into full discographies of artists and found similar things.

Now as I said, there were some songs that I discovered in the albums that I did enjoy. Maybe this is me exposing my music tastes or exposing that I’m young and don’t know songs that perhaps everyone else knows, but every time I found a song I liked, I added it to this Spotify playlist. Take a listen if you want.

Do you have any thoughts on the subject? Is there an artist who you think has a bunch of hidden gems in their discography? Is there a song from an artist in this playlist that you think I should give another go?

That’s all for now!

 

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Working From Home: A 6 Month Update

When the pandemic started I was unemployed, but I saw and read about people having to adjust to working from home. For some, it was an easy transition, but many others struggled or felt burn out soon after. In those uncertain times (I say as if we in Canada are not still in them…) there was a lot of discussion as to the future of workplaces. So I wrote this blog post talking about how I did not want to work from home and how I thought young people would suffer in the long run if working from home was to truly be the new societal norm even past the pandemic.

But then I got a job.

I started in right away in January, and it’s completely work from home. I’ve never met my boss in person. I’ve never been to the office building listed on our website. I don’t know when I ever will. But it’s been six months now, and I actually don’t hate working from home at all.

Maybe it's not the worst idea gif.

In fact, I like it a lot more than I thought I would. That’s not to say that I don’t stand by what I wrote last year, because I absolutely still do, but I’ve had a slight change of heart and am proud of myself for dealing with this new work situation so well.

I like not having a commute. I like that I can use a stove at lunch rather than just a microwave. I like being able to sit on my bed with my laptop sometimes rather than only sitting at a desk. I like that I can play music out loud if I want. There are a lot of pros to working from home, and I’m sure if you’ve experienced it, you know this all to be true.

What also has hugely helped me manage this lifestyle is the fact that I have a decent social life set up for myself. I spend more nights on Google Hangouts with friends than not, so I’m able to get regular human interaction, and it doesn’t feel transactional like it sometimes can at work. That work-life balance is real and important.

Work Life balance gif.

In Canada, basically everyone should be double vaccinated by the fall, so there’s some light talk about returning to normal, returning to offices. While I was totally against working from home before I had to do it, I think I’m more in the split party now. I think I’d like to only go in a few days, and ideally those few days be for meetings or something. For people established in their role and good with technology, perhaps being in the office every day isn’t necessary. I know for me in a marketing role, I really don’t interact with people outside of the department too often and a lot of my work is solo, so it’d be more of a social thing for me, which is fine because building relationships with coworkers is valuable. I still think starting a new job remotely isn’t ideal for either party, and I still think that the younger generation could suffer without the mentorship or connections in the long run, but when you balance the pros and cons, I think in general, it’s fairly even. Hopefully workplaces understand this and are able to nicely adjust for it so that everyone can work in their ideal way and get what they need out of it.

I’m learning a lot at my job and I like my coworkers and I’m glad I have the chance to work and figure out myself from home. The fact that I’ve had a change of heart regarding this is cool and I think it makes me a better person and a better employee.

I work well on my own and am not someone antsy, so spending basically 22 of 24 hours in my room/office and 14 of those on a computer isn’t hard for me, especially once I got set up with a proper desk. My room for years was just a place to sleep, so changing it up a bit to suit work was weird, but needed. Not all of it has been changed though…I guess this is now technically my office door.

I did this in grade 6 or 7 and I love it. Click to enhance.

If working from home is my life now and will be the trend for employment going forward, I’d still like to not have ‘home’ be at my parents’ house especially because I am now officially closer to 30 than I am 20 (ew), but one step at a time. This concludes my update!

That’s all for now!

 

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Please Don’t Make Me Work From Home

I know that with Coronavirus being still a big issue and concern, going into work is not an option for most people at this time, so those who can are working from home, and I’d imagine that by now, everyone has adapted to this the best they can.

Improvise. Adapt. Overcome. meme.

So there’s a chance that when workplaces and office buildings do open up again, people will opt to not go back and instead continue working from home. And there’s a chance companies will encourage this going forward so they don’t have to pay for office space or utilities or coffee.

As someone who is currently job hunting and has many, many years of being in the workforce ahead of her, this concerns me. I don’t want to work from home. I think that if this becomes the norm, it will be detrimental to people’s careers and health and just the way companies function.

maybe this is a bad ide gif.

Let’s say I got a job tomorrow at a company that has decided to solely employ people remotely. This means all my interactions with coworkers would be over the computer/phone (which is a whole problem in itself as some people are really not computer literate and should not be conducting professional business this way), and because of this, there would be little to no room for anything other than pure work. No longer would I ask my coworker how their weekend was as we wait for the kettle to boil in the breakroom. It would be so much harder to form bonds, and the lack of these bonds could mean that I have less quality connections, which is critical when Who You Know is always a valuable thing in life. And with coworker interaction down severely, what have I got left? I live with my parents currently and I have a very small handful of friends I talk to with some regularity, so I guess I’d still talk to people during the day, but imagine if I didn’t, as I’m sure some people do. I think the lack of human interaction could lead to some mental health issues, as we’ve even seen happen during this pandemic. I want to be able to get out of the house and go to a place to work. I want to be able to separate myself like that. I want to be able to connect and grow and learn from my environment.

My best friend’s dad is close to retirement, and I was talking to him the other week about this. He set up an office in his garage when COVID hit and likes it, but he totally empathizes with me as a young person facing this. He told me that there’s a young girl who he works with and, when they did work in person, he would try to ensure she sat in on meetings and learned from his experience. He said she’d was able to hear most of his phone calls and he knows she picked up so much from that. But now that they’re apart, he can’t do that, and he despises how communication now is limited to a lot of messaging.

This Ain't It gif.

I know working from home is ideal for a lot of people like those with kids at home or those with physical limitations or those who don’t live near their work, and I am not at all saying that they should be forced to go to into a workplace. I totally think companies should try to be flexible in those cases. My point is more about the workforce in general. My field is marketing and communications, and yes, it is stuff that could realistically be done from home on my own, but I really hope I don’t have to do that.

Of course, I don’t mean to sound like a choosing beggar. A job is a job, and I am adaptable. But as I said, as a young person, I can’t help but be a little worried for my future and the future of my peers regarding careers. There are a lot of changes that could and should come from this pandemic but everyone working from home always is not one, in my opinion.

People working from home now, what’s the vibe like? Are you more or less productive? Are you itching to get back to the office?

 

 

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Things I Learned From My First Full-Time Office Job

I wrote the majority of this post a few weeks ago, knowing my one-year anniversary was coming up for my first real adult full-time job. Two days after the milestone, I was laid off. That sucked. I was told they were restructuring the department, outsourcing my job, and then they packed up my office for me.

The job wasn’t all sunshine and roses, but I was committed to stick it out for a couple years. Adjusting to it took time, just like I know adjusting to what’s next is going to be. Despite how angry and disappointed I am to so suddenly be out of work, the lessons I learned are still true and valuable. That job was the longest I’ve done something consecutively, and I am proud of myself. For 22 years, all I had known was school, and then my priorities and life had to shift. So I wanted to make this post to highlight some things I learned in the year. Hopefully it can help people about to graduate and move into their own full-time adult jobs, even just to understand what it’s like.

For those who didn’t know (which is probably a lot of you since I didn’t talk about work that often here), I worked in marketing. I won’t say what the company I worked for did, but it was B2B and not a thrilling industry by any means. The marketing department was small, and my job was to write a lot (emails, landing pages, social posts, blogs, website updates….) and I liked that because I went to school for communications and I do genuinely like to write/create, even if my creative freedom was obviously limited. I told anyone who asked that I learned so much at work, and it’s stuff that school could never teach me. Now I’d like to share a bit of it.

Image result for work work work gif

  • Not all offices are like The Office. There were days where work seemed similar to The Office, like we’d have a meeting talking about branch goals or something that kind of reminded me of The Office, but that’s about where the similarities end. I wished the office was more like The Office though. They seemed to have good times over there in Dunder Mifflin.
  • Dress codes are dumb. I sat at a desk by myself all day. I didn’t interact with customers. Some days I didn’t even stand up (which is bad, I know. I did make an effort to stand up and move more). So who cares if I wore fancy black shoes or purple running shoes? (Related: this post on my personal style and how clothes shouldn’t matter as much)
  • I am convinced lunch hours go by a lot faster than other hours.
  • I loved meetings. I just had to sit there, listen, learn, occasionally say something, and it counted as productivity! I had a coworker who would sometimes say after a conference call “Okay, we didn’t need a half hour phone call for that,” and I’d be like “We sure didn’t! It was great!” #WasteMyTime2k19
  • Dilbert comics make a lot more sense.
    Image result for dilbert comic marketing
    Image result for dilbert comic marketing
  • I don’t miss school per se, but I miss aspects. I miss being able to lounge around at 1 in the afternoon because my class wasn’t until 3. I miss sleeping in and staying up late. I miss doing a few hours of homework and considering it a good day’s work. I don’t miss lectures and boring papers.
  • School really didn’t teach me much. I learned so much more in the real world. Every company approaches communications, social media, and lead generation differently. The generic concepts from school may have given me a starting point, but I forget most of it. So don’t stress about not knowing and applying everything. It sucks that it cost so much to happen, but it gets you in the door for jobs. And if you’re debating going on to grad school, consider if it’s really needed. For the communications/marketing field, I personally don’t think it is.
  • I had two large computer screens and it made any multi-tabbed project SO MUCH easier. How the heck did I survive all my essays and projects in school with only my single-screened small laptop?
  • It can be hard to figure out when to speak up and voice an opinion. Sometimes it’s best to just shut up and do what you disagree with because no one’s really asking for your thoughts. Just do the job.
    Image result for don't say anything gif
  • Loverboy was right. Everybody really is working for the weekend.
  • I would’ve actually died if I hadn’t been allowed to listen to music while I worked. It was so quiet in the office, and I dislike the silence like that, so I always had the radio going. You can’t always control the volume of your surroundings the way you usually can doing homework at home, so I did have to learn what kind of noise I liked and what helps me work.
  • Just because coworkers are grown adults who’ve been with a company for years, it doesn’t mean they’re brilliant. Especially when it comes to technology.
  • If you have questions, even ‘dumb’ ones, ask them sooner rather than later. Otherwise you end up like me, who genuinely did not know my own office phone number, and even up until the end was too afraid to ask.
  • Have snacks on hand always.
    Image result for snacks gif

I’ll always be very grateful that I found a job in my field only a few months out of school and so close to home. I may have been counting down to 5’oclock every day, but that’s life. The above lessons will prove valuable throughout my career, no matter where I go or what I do now.

I hope the things I learned amused you or help you! To anyone who has workplace lessons to share too, leave a comment!

Wish me luck on the new job hunt.

 

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