Recently, I posted an update on both Facebook and Twitter. This is what it said: “I’d rather make a living playing football for less money than my current full-time job pays than work another 3 months in the office.” This update was posted from my iPhone while stuck in Downtown Indianapolis’ terrible traffic.
Let me paint a picture for you. I just had a long and draining day in the office and now I’m stuck in traffic on my way to my evening job. In front of me is a truck with a bumper sticker that says “I’d rather be flying” with a little airplane on it. I thought to myself, ‘I would rather be playing football right now and not stuck in this traffic.’ Then the thought expanded to, ‘I wouldn’t be in this traffic if I didn’t have to drive down here to the office.’ And then it eventually evolved to, ‘I am burning more gas in traffic than I make in the office to pay for the gas. At least playing football and getting paid would be fun.’ By now, you probably have an idea of how long I was stuck in traffic and I hadn’t even picked up my phone to post the eventual update.
By the time I got home, there was a comment on my Facebook post–of course it came from a coworker. When she asked if I would consider leaving this “paradise” I commented back saying that I would if “presented the right scenario.” She did not know this but I’m to actually sign a contract with an arena football team later this week that will actually pay me so, being paid to actually play football is not only likely but about to happen. Games start in January 2013–three months from now.
The second person to respond to the comment was another coworker but that’s not how I see this individual. She’s a friend that happens to work in my office so, when she asked if I had a rough day I replied that “rough” has become the new normal. Maybe a little venting there but I didn’t think my comment was crossing any lines.
Now, a third person hit me up on the comment but asked me about something totally unrelated and inappropriate to be discussed publicly. When I noticed it, deleted it with hyper speed; still wasn’t fast enough as a fourth person (and member of my church) spotted it. I was then quickly criticized for expressing my dissatisfaction with my job and THEN being question about a gun. Let me point out two things here: 1) My original comment was inspired by my love of playing football, not any disdain for my job. 2) I don’t own nor have I been in trouble with a gun; the question was about someone else and I actually had zero helpful information.
What got the comment finally deleted was a Facebook inbox message from my mother. I was tired of trying to justify my comment–promoting me playing football for pay no matter how little verses me bad mouthing my job. I caved in and took the post down…But did I have to?
Technology has proven to be a gift and a curse. With the invention on Facebook and Twitter, we have the ability to communicate quickly to hundreds or even thousands of people at once. The world also has the ability to examine our public thoughts and ideas. Not only can friends and family see what we post but so can current coworkers or potential business partners. To me it’s frustrating to have to be so careful because I’m not one to hide anything from anyone but at the same time I don’t want to feel that my words could be used against me, especially when the intent was to highlight something different than what is actually being focused on.
After a day to think about, removing the update from Facebook was a smart move and never posting it would’ve been a better move. Although many people ‘like’ the original comment, it wasn’t worth potentially subjecting myself to any scrutiny from my current or any future employers–even if I was more focused on the football part of the meaning of the status update. The fact of the matter is any and every single thing you put up on the web is open for interpretation and you don’t always get the chance to explain yourself.