‘Networking’ the wrong way

Before you comment on those over-the-top, bad engagement photos, consider your 
company’s policy on Internet usage.

So you thought you could sneak in some Facebook time on the company dime? Think again — and that goes for you, too, Twitterphiles.

Spiteful higher-ups might be watching, career coaches warn, and you could find yourself checking into your apartment, searching for #jobs.

“That’s the No. 1 thing people don’t consider,” work life coach Sue Thompson says. “Someone is watching you — and they have a right to.”

“It all comes down to knowing your organizational culture,” adds Shirin Khamisa, founder of Careers By Design consulting service. Many a manager, she notes, may not mind a 2 p.m. status update or two.  But others will expect you to keep a clean profile — and use it to relentlessly promote the company.

And still others, Thompson warns, may have your page history wiretapped and scrutinized as they prepare a case for your dismissal — dishonorably discharged for too much dilly-dallying.

“Your boss may be getting a report each month about how many of their employees are on the Internet each day,” she cautions.

So how do you break the habit? Unfortunately, there are no miracle come-down drugs for an Internet fix, Thompson says, “[There’s] just discipline.”

“Look, this is work, and you have to have the discipline to say to yourself, ‘I will not check Twitter until I go to lunch and check it on my phone,’” she says.

But for companies that do permit Facebook in moderation, the harder task can be limiting the fraction of the workday you squander online.

We all need little mid-day breaks, Carleton University psychology professor Tim Pychyl notes, and we take them constantly, whether consciously or not. The trick, he offers, is to find novel ways of procrastinating — like taking a walk or calling a friend.

“You acknowledge that break more by picking up the phone and dialing it,” he explains.


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