Talk Jobs: My boss wants me to share his embarrassing social media posts
Dear J.T. & Dale: My boss has suddenly gotten into social media. He is posting all sorts of content, and is constantly emailing all of us asking us to like it and share it in our personal social media feeds. Some of the stuff he's creating is downright ridiculous and is embarrassing, so I've avoided posting it. However, he is noticing who is posting and who isn't. Yesterday he called to ask me why I wasn't helping. I didn't know what to say. So I just told him that I'm not a big user of social media. Unfortunately, he called me out on that because he said he looked at my accounts and saw that I have big followings. We left it at that, but I can tell he's pretty upset. What should I do? — Tara
J.T.: Your boss shouldn't be forcing you to share his stuff. It's one thing to "like" it, but it's another to ask you to re-share. Go meet with him and tell him that you are happy to like anything he does, but that you aren't comfortable re-sharing it in your feed. I would be very tactful and say that you have been working on your own social media feeds and that you have a certain style of content — that you are trying to build your following around a certain set of topics and that his information isn't aligning with that. That is a polite way to say that the content doesn't resonate with you. While he might be upset, at least you're giving him a valid reason as to why you are not sharing it.
DALE: I don't see that conversation going at all well. When you criticize someone's writing, they're going to ask for specifics, saying "What's wrong with this one?" And then he'll argue with your answer. So I hope that instead of getting caught in the role of critic, go with the rule of "show, don't tell." Take one of his best pieces and rework it as something that fits your style. Show it to him, and ask if you can post it. I suspect he'll be delighted.
J.T.: I'm not so sure about the "reworking" part. Instead, I would try to share something of his that you do feel is at least somewhat appropriate. Helping each other grow social media accounts is a good thing. If you want him to help you, you need to help him. Again, it doesn't have to be all the time but do try to look for at least something that you can share so that he knows you are trying.
Dear J.T. & Dale: My boss started letting us work from home, which is great. But she's insisting that we be available for online meetings every day but Monday. She wants us to plan appointments or other conflicts only on Mondays. That isn't easy. A colleague of mine had to schedule something on a Thursday, and my boss seemed really upset. Can I talk to her about unrealistic expectations? — Trevon
DALE: Yes, but with a caveat: What bosses hate, hate, hate is when they try to do something nice and employees immediately want to debate the new policy.
J.T.: So why not wait and see how it works for a while? You don't want to be the one who is criticizing a brand-new benefit. Give it a little time and maybe then she won't be so upset when people have to still make appointments on other days. However, if over several months her frustration still seems to persist, it might be time for several of you to reach out to her and ask what else you can do in situations where you just don't have any other choice. My advice is to not tell her but ask her what she would like you to do in order to accommodate her needs as well as your own. The simple decision to "ask instead of tell" can make it sound more like you're trying to support her and less like you are being ungrateful.
Jeanine "J.T." Tanner O'Donnell is a career coach and the founder of the leading career site www.workitdaily.com. Dale Dauten is founder of The Innovators' Lab and author of a novel about H.R., "The Weary Optimist." Please visit them at jtanddale.com, where you can send questions via email, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803.