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My company had a little team party about a month ago that was boring and horrible and I tweeted something bad about it. Later I was frustrated with a project and tweeted more bad stuff about the company. My mistake was that I included the company name in the one of the tweets.

Today I got a message from my team lead who is also the CTO. He had seen my tweets and was asking what the issue was and that I should have discussed it in person with him or HR. I told him that my tweets might have been sent in frustration and I meant no harm towards the company. I immediately took the comments down and have made my profile private for now.

I feel I am in trouble now, how to get around this situation?

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    This was a serious error of judgement, the only positive you can take from this is that hopefully you have learnt to never do that again. If you haven't already been sacked then its unlikely you will, but your reputation has been damaged, and that takes time to regain. – DavidB Aug 26 '15 at 8:21
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    I think it's out of your hands now, good luck! If things do go badly and you do end up being fired then don't tweet about it. – DavidB Aug 26 '15 at 11:31
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    @ps2goat What "legal precedent" is this? I doubt it doesn't at least vary by state, if it even exists at all. – Random832 Aug 26 '15 at 16:07
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    @user1502 "I told her it was miscommunication among my supervisors and how I am the scapegoat when things go wrong for them." This is the wrong way to act to a superior who asks you a question, especially when you're already in a volatile situation. Telling them that you're being unfairly singled out sounds very petty and immature when you got caught making negative remarks about the company. It's not about them at that point, it's about you. You don't want to do any more damage to your reputation or show an unwillingness to take responsibility. Own up to it and don't point fingers. – zfrisch Aug 26 '15 at 17:02
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    Apparently this needs to be reiterated to you because you haven't learned yet: DO NOT POST STUFF ABOUT YOUR COMPANY ON THE INTERNET. You are on a website that a lot of HR professionals frequent. You have given detailed enough descriptions of the scenarios and events that have happened that your HR person would almost immediately recognize the situation. Come on! – Zach Mierzejewski Aug 26 '15 at 22:42
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You apologize, you assure your lead that it won't happen again, and then you make sure it doesn't happen again.

  • And, as suggested by MattP, your apology should make it clear that you have removed the negative tweets

If there were going to be any direct and immediate consequences (e.g. if you were going to be fired for these negative tweets), it probably would have happened already. So you're probably safe on that front.

You may well have damaged your lead's perception of you. That's unfortunate, and if it is the case, all you can do is try to improve that perception over time by doing quality work.

And going forward, never forget, don't post stuff on the internet that you wouldn't be happy saying directly to someone's face.

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    You should accept you were in the wrong, confirm any material about the company has been removed and apologise. It's already happened so you don't need to make too much of it just try to close the issue and move on. – MattP Aug 26 '15 at 6:45
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    +1 "don't post stuff on the internet that you wouldn't be happy saying directly to someone's face" – Babika Babaka Aug 26 '15 at 7:26
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    @user1502 I'm not sure if you realise why you were wrong if you believe that "My mistake was I included the name in the one of the tweets.". You should never be venting about your company on public social media and it's frankly also a bad idea even if your profile is private. – Lilienthal Aug 26 '15 at 9:41
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    and even if you were saying something to someone's face, that does not mean you should share that with the rest of the world – njzk2 Aug 26 '15 at 14:34
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    @user1502: I'll be surprised if you still have a job in a week. When HR asked you that question your answer should have been "I was dumb. I assure you that I've learned my lesson and it won't happen again." Then later (at least a few days) you approach your manager about any current issues you might have and ask for guidance on how to resolve them. – NotMe Aug 27 '15 at 14:19
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I feel I am in trouble now, how to get around this situation?

You apologize (in person), indicate that you have learned a lesson, indicate that the offending tweets have already been taken down, and that you won't do it again.

In the future, you talk to the CTO or HR when you have an issue, rather than commenting publicly.

Everyone makes mistakes. If this is the first one, and if you don't have a habit of repeating your mistakes it will likely blow over.

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    As @Lilienthal added above: Always assume that anything which happens on a machine which you don't have control over -- directly or thru a contract making them liable for any security failures -- may be seen by the wrong people. Always assume that anything you post to a social media system you don't have that kind of control over will be seen by the wrong people. Using your real name increases the risk, but an alias may not be sufficient. – keshlam Aug 26 '15 at 12:28
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As far as how to deal with the negative exposure you gave to the company and whether that was warranted or not, I guess everything has already been said in other comments/answers.

What I read between your lines, though, is that you might have also gone a bit too far into a defensive stance. You write:

I was called by the HR and she asked what made you tweet this. (1) Apparently the CTO has copied the tweets and sent to her and two of my supervisors. I told her it was miscommunication among my supervisors and how I am the scapegoat when things go wrong for them. (2)

As to (1): The way you put it, your HR department made an effort to understand what the issue was that made you tweet what you did. This is (was?) a chance for you to confront your company with what you felt would need improvement and for your company to act on it (you mentioned HR seeking "solutions").

As to (2): This sounds like a total retreat on your part with blame going in all other directions but yourself in reaction to any confrontation. I agree with the other posters that you might have done something that you maybe should not have done and that the blame clearly lies with you. Now you could argue that that was a very reasonable reaction to any circumstance that made you act the way you did, but if you refuse to explain what that circumstance is, then there is no way of settling this except for everyone walking away and realizing there is an unresolved dispute, is there?

Now in all of the above, I have no understanding of how different parts of your organization have communicated with you and what they gave you to understand. Depending on what type of blame they have put on you, that might of course change the picture slghtly.

Still, I personally believe, as with any other problem, if a boat is filling up with water, you should not resort to discussing who stole the buckets, but rather find and patch the hole.

  • When the HR called me I first told them that I have apologized to the CTO and it was my mistake.They later started discussing how it also affects new hires who constantly search on social media etc. On later asking what made you so frustrated,I told them the truth. Just imagine two of your seniors having a dispute and putting the blame on you when the things go wrong.There I may have retreated and blamed others. Its in that meeting I got to know that the CTO had first emailed my tweets to both of them, and later confronted me in the morning.Also I wont take this stance when I meet him in perso – user1502 Aug 27 '15 at 16:30
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The best way to get around the situation is to find another job you might enjoy, because you don't seem to like this one, and you made sure everyone knows it. Long term, you have likely destroyed your prospects at this company, so it's probably not a bad idea to move on.

On the other hand, if you clean up your mess, apologize, accept full responsibility for it (all blame is yours and yours alone), start acting in a more professional manner, and demonstrate that you have learned from this experience, you may be able to survive. A lot depends on how valuable you are to the company. The company must value you in some way, because you still have a job.

For now, just do your job and do it well. Be professional in everything you do. Don't do anything controversial. And keep your opinions to yourself. If you feel compelled to share an opinion, make sure you do it to the right person in the right forum.

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    "Long term, you have likely destroyed your prospects at this company". I'd disagree with this - it's a bad company that would hold back a talented employee long term because of one screw up unrelated to their core job function. You either fire them immediately, or you forgive and move on. (Although forgive is not forget. Don't expect lenient treatment the second time you screw up). – Philip Kendall Aug 26 '15 at 20:47

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