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4 Things You Should AVOID Doing on Social Media if You Are Laid Off

The layoffs in the tech sector and many other companies in different sectors were unprecedented. The massive layoffs in 2022-2023 shook the rock-solid confidence the tech employees had in the companies they worked for. Whether Google or Microsoft, Meta or Amazon, the big names which were hailed as the best companies to work for in the tech sector provided everything an employee can dream of. When the times were favoring, tech employees loved everything about their job – the pay, the place of work, the perks, the bonuses, the brand and everything that companies were showering on them to retain talent.

It is natural – things do not always remain the same. Layoffs in the corporate sector have filled up the layoff trackers and kept offboarding teams busy. Job cuts in the tech sector have crushed the dreams of many, and they are finding it difficult to believe what happened to them. When companies you work for have been regarded as the biggest job security providers and a big family working for the welfare of its employees for years, the shock from a sudden layoff is not a feeling that easily sinks in.

The quantum of layoffs is such that everyone has been left in a state of disbelief except those who knew that layoffs are real and happen now and then. Some employees were aware layoffs are part of life in the corporate sector, many had experienced it earlier, too, during the dot-com bubble burst, and many accepted it the way it happened to them.

During the layoffs, almost every laid off employee took to social media, especially Twitter and LinkedIn, for various reasons. Some turned to social media to look for new jobs, some to update their LinkedIn profiles, and some to express their disbelief. And there was another section of people who used social media to vent their anger, criticize their employers, share unpleasant memes targeted at companies and share either wrong or confidential information.

Should laid off employees use social media to criticize the companies? Should they try to write posts or tweet or share videos that hurt a company’s image in some way? How could it harm the fired employee’s prospects?

Damaging the company’s and coworkers’ reputation

Layoffs are a big reality that corporate workers must embrace right from the beginning. There is nothing personal about it. Layoffs happen in every industry at some point. Organizational restructuring, economic conditions and cost-cutting drives to boost revenue and profits often lead to downsizing in companies. Laying off employees is standard practice for companies in demanding situations.

It is natural to feel emotional and shocked as layoff often means social and economic setbacks. Disclosing it to your family, explaining it to the future employer, mentioning it on resume - everything is tricky about the pink slip. But this is the time to show composure, confidence, and acceptance. You should not show angry rants about the company and coworkers on social media or anywhere on the internet.

Remain composed and accept that layoffs happen, which is part of being employed in the corporate sector. Your rants on social media will present you as an aggressive, overly outspoken and non-accepting person to future employers.

Spread false information about the company or the layoffs

Why do companies lay off? Companies lay off employees based on many factors. Layoffs are a difficult time for everyone – not just you but also for the management, the HR (the offboarding team), investors, your coworkers and every other employee in your company who is being laid off.

Every company follows a procedure in laying off employees and treads carefully because every move and every piece of information hurts their brand and market value. The layoffs in the tech sector are a similar story where many companies saw their customers leaving them or market value coming down.

Any kind of misinformation is the last thing that a company would desire at such a time. So let the information related to current layoffs flow from the company side instead of you. Sharing any update through formal communication is their job and not yours.

Being sued for spreading misinformation about your ex-company that is in layoffs mode is the last thing you would want since you are already in a state where you should not have been. Control your information and work on future goals. A layoff is not the end of the world – it’s just the end of a job.

Uploading/posting sensitive company information

It is a digital world, and information spreads in a matter of a few seconds and reaches an unlimited number of people within those seconds. It is natural for companies, like the tech companies that are laying off, to cut off your formal communication channels – Slack, email, messenger, official phone number or anything that belongs to them. They are the administrators, and controlling a sensitive situation caused by massive layoffs is the primary thing they do.

Every company gives importance to confidential information to a great extent, so the companies will not take someone sharing wrong or fudged information kindly. You should not post any internal communication, data or reports in the form of videos, deep fakes, documents, images or any other form on social media platforms. Any information related to layoffs is sensitive, and it is better to leave it like that. You should focus more on updating your information on the internet and looking for a new job.

Neglect your online reputation and create negative digital footprints

Digital footprints are hard to erase. Most publications have strict guidelines about deleting information posted by them in any form. Also, anything you share on social media might go viral and reach the eyes that you should have avoided at any cost.

All in all, anything once posted on the internet is difficult to get rid of. There are screenshots, recordings, viral posts, reputed publications that quote or reference tweets, and Instagram and LinkedIn posts in their article. You need to stay safe and not create any digital footprints, whether related to layoff or anything else which is work-related.

You have been laid off, the situation in the job market is not good and you have a career ahead of you. Do not fall into the emotional trap and share anything that you think might go against you in the future and end up hurting your career.

The internet, especially social media, is a wild world and can take you by surprise anytime in the future. Accept that you have been laid off and move on. Use social media to find jobs and create a strong positive presence instead of spreading negativity and presenting yourself as a disgruntled, stressed and down-and-out laid-off employee.

Here are some other key things that you should know about using social media when you are fired.

Can an employer initiate action on social media posts made by an employee outside working hours or after being fired?

For both cases, yes. Any social media post that is unjustified, spreads misinformation, hurts company reputation, or leaks confidential information is liable to be pursued legally by your employer. However, some matters are subjective and might not directly imply something against the company. But still, companies have lawyers that can easily get you in a fix.

Can employers use social media against employees after firing them?

It usually does not happen in reputed companies. It is considered unethical and not a form of communication that companies follow. Companies follow a formal channel to communicate with employers, whether present or fired, mostly through emails or letters.

Is criticizing an employer on social media fair, and should I do it?

It is not advised to criticize employers on social media. Layoffs can happen anytime, and anybody could be on the firing list. In the professional world, it is a standard practice to restructure organizations based on management requirements. Since there is nothing personal about it, you should not take it to heart and criticize your employer on social media. It hurts their brand image, and if you go too far, there is a big chance of you landing in legal trouble.

You also need to understand that reviewing an employer on sites like Glassdoor is different from criticizing your employer on social media platforms. Reviews, healthy criticism, opinions and viewpoints are different things, so you need to know which path you are taking.

Is posting work on social media OK after you are laid off?

Absolutely not. Companies value every project they work on. You are an employee and not the owner of the project that you do for your employer. Sharing any unauthorized project work, whether as a present employee or a laid off employee, is unfair and unethical. This can invite legal action.

tech layoffs tracker

Things that will get you fired immediately

During layoffs, the whole environment is sensitive. It is not ideal for any of the parties. Harsh decisions have to be made by the employer, and employees have to accept them.

In such critical times, sharing misinformation, posting project work or company documents, heavily criticizing employers on social media or anywhere on the internet, spreading negativity among your coworkers, turning abusive towards your colleagues or managers, and sharing confidential information are some of the things that will get you fired immediately from your company, whether you are on the layoff list or not.

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