You love what you do so much that you decide to either podcast about or get on other podcasts to talk about, your passion. It’s a great gig until you make one little slip-up. Next thing you know, you’re in the HR office as someone else is clearing your desk.
It happens in Social Media – Situations where someone is fired for saying or doing something that works against their job. A couple cases where the person is fired even before their first day of work.
The First Podcaster Ever to Get Fired For It?
In the book: Tricks of the Podcasting Masters (Amazon), we learned on how Nate Fulmer of the show “Nate and Di” was fired for a church skit in 2005. Although his job was not related to the church, his boss took offense to the episode and outright fired him.
Now South Carolina is an “At-Will State”, which means you can get fired at any time for no reason. You can also quit at any time with no repercussions as well.
How to Not Get Fired for Podcasting
People make mistakes, especially if they are on the air, ad-libbing. So how do your avoid saying something that could come back to haunt you?
1. Talk to HR and Your Boss about Speaking Publicly
When I was a full-time IT professional, I informed my Boss and Human Resources (HR) about my podcasting efforts. At the time, I was doing a podcast on music of new, unsigned bands. I not only wanted to let them know but even invite them to listen. After all, why not make your boss your biggest fan?
Find out if your company has a policy on blogging and podcasting. If not – help them plan one out. Follow other companies policies to make your own. Check out HireRabbit’s 5 Terrific Examples of Compay Social Media Policies. These are great guidelines to how you will present your social media plan.
2. Disclaimers on Your Personal and Professional Job When Conflicts Arise
A well-written disclaimer stating: “These are my own views and ideas” during the show is a good idea. If you get into luke-warm water area debating whether you should express a feeling or thought while on the spot of a show, you should recite that before moving forward. It doesn’t protect you legally but can make people aware of the conflict.
It is also important not to feel pressured by anyone. Yes, you only have a certain amount of time to say something for the podcast, but no amount of time is worth someone’s job.
Count to 10: If you are on the fence about saying something, count to 10 and see where you stand again. If after 10, if you still feel unsure then stop the conversation.
3. Script Out Your Talking Points
Before you podcast or get on another show, put together a list of things you can and cannot say. You don’t have to script word-for-word: just bullet notes that keep you on the track you need to be on.
If you are a guest on a show, verbally let the participants know you have talking points they cannot ask you about (if necessary).
4. For Guests: Inform Them of Impact
Before a lot of shows, I try to give people guidelines in how they perform on the podcast. For audio, I make sure they have headphones and their laptop is on a table not to be moved around. These are mostly suggestions on how they best can present themselves when recording.
If someone asks, I will say “If you are uncomfortable talking about anything related to your job, then don’t”. Luke Wallace and I bring this up now-and-then on Wearable Today when things hit close to home for him.
5. Don’t talk about your Job – At All
Simple: If asked, say “No Comment”. Stay completely away from your job and all aspects. Depending on the situation, I wouldn’t even tell that “funny story” involving someone at work. Even if names are changed, if that other employee just so happens to deduce you are talking about them, you might get a call into HR the next day.
When I was a DJ in college, I had a DJ name. There are podcasters that separate work-from-show with a pseudonym. They don’t want their bosses or other possible clients to know it’s them. If you are running a show that takes things to an extreme, a pseudonym might be the best idea.
It also helps if your podcast gets famous. The mystique of who you are can also be a powerful hook in podcasting. If people know you are broadcasting under a fake name, sometimes they’ll follow you to try and see if you divulge that information down the road.
7. Keep in Mind Your Status in the Company
As we learned in Nate’s case, you don’t even need to be talking about your job to get fired. Being aware of who listens and how it affects your working relationship is key to your longevity in the company.
Even if you don’t talk about your profession, your podcast could possibly put you in a light that others employees might not like. If they don’t get along with you, it makes the work environment stall.
I can cite multiple instances where Facebook and other social media channels led to a person’s firing. While it might be few-and-far-between for podcasting, the threat is still there. Understanding how your podcast is perceived might help in keeping your job.
After all, most of us don’t make enough money with our podcasts to replace the job…