The other day, I was reading some posts on a message board forum for moms who work from home. One of my favorite forums is the “telecommuting” thread. This is a great place to find current job openings and other ways to earn income online, or from home.
I visit the site often and am starting to get to know the personalities of many of the posters. One of the “regulars” rarely takes a bathroom break without announcing it to the entire forum. Let’s just call her “Sally”.
Just for arguments sake, I decided to pretend to be an employer who was considering hiring Sally. I “Googled” Sally’s name and within moments, I was reading all about her marriage…including more “intimate” details that made me blush. I learned about arguments she was having with neighbors, her mother and friends. I also read ongoing complaints about companies that wouldn’t hire her and other rambling posts about how she couldn’t find a work at home opportunity. (Gee, I wonder why?) Let’s just say that the majority of her posts were “TMI” – Too Much Information.
Most of the companies that hire telecommuters are technology related. Why do some people think it is out of the realm of possibility that their “dirty laundry” will be read by the same people who are deciding whether or not to hire them? Wouldn’t it make sense that they may do some online “research” first? Really, we “Google” potential dates, we “Google” former boyfriends and girlfriends, wouldn’t it be prudent for an employer to “Google” someone they want to hire?
I am not saying that you shouldn’t network with other work-at-home professionals in message board forums. In fact, in a previous post– I actually encouraged it.
You just need to be smart about it. Do you vent about companies that wouldn’t hire you for various reasons? Not smart. Do you discuss bad experiences you’ve had with previous supervisors? Not smart. Do you use your real name and post intimate details about your personal life? Not smart.
As a freelance writer, I often write for publications that distribute my articles throughout the internet. Needless to say, various aspects of my personal life are available for just about anyone to read. In the writing world, there is a term we use to disguise who we are called a “pen name”. If I ever decide to write an article titled “Top Ten Reasons I Hated My Childhood” – you better believe, I would use a pen-name. (Don’t worry, mom…I am kidding). When I post more personal messages on forums, I use a pen-name, or screen name that can not be traced back to my real name.
While personally, I am not a big fan of online “TMI” there are often times that you want to discuss work-at-home issues with people who may have had the same experiences. While I am not telling you what you should, and shouldn’t talk about online, might I suggest you use a pen-name?