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No. 56 – Is it normal for your boss to follow you on Instagram?

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20 April 2022

My boss has connected with me on social media and I find it creepy. I’ve ignored his friend request on Facebook but he has followed me on Instagram where I share personal photos. I feel like I can’t have any personal privacy. Is this normal? What should I do?

If you find this attention creepy, then it is. Not everyone will feel the same way as you since it depends on individual circumstances and the kind of relationship you have with your manager. But it sounds like for you, you feel your boss is not respecting your personal boundaries and he needs to respect those, both at work and at home. This is your social media profile so you decide how you use it.

On the platforms where you don’t want him to see your posts, block or mute him. It may take him a while to realise he isn’t seeing many posts from you and hopefully he will simply get the hint. Continue to ignore his friend request on Facebook. The chances of him asking you about why you’re ignoring him on social media is probably slim. If he does, you can let him know you like to keep your work and home life separate. He should accept that explanation and move on. If he continues to discuss this with you or gets angry including any repercussion at work, get further advice since any kind of harassment is a serious issue.

My boss is defrauding the company we work for by spending most of the day with his office door closed working on a side hustle rather than doing the job he is paid very well to do. He has openly told our team about it. I work for a public company and really enjoy my job but for the last 18 months my boss has been pushing all work down to myself and my colleagues, refusing to accept any responsibility and even leaving work at lunch and not returning, or simply not turning up to work at all. His boss is his friend and only visits our site every two to three weeks so doesn’t know what is happening. What do I do? Do I report it as an anonymous whistleblower? Do I write an anonymous letter to HR or the CEO? Do I just suck it up and not do anything about it, hoping he gets found out?

You’re in a tough position. Report him, even anonymously, and there are risks for you. Do nothing and you are turning a blind eye to someone doing the wrong thing. There may also be potential financial conflict of interests in the work of his side hustle. Your boss is doing the wrong thing on many levels.

Finding a safe way for you to speak up is key. Call an independent, anonymous whistleblower hotline if your company has one. There are protections that will flow to you – ask the hotline to explain how that will work. If there is no hotline you can call, your company should have policies explaining how to make a complaint and how you will be protected. Writing an anonymous letter to your CEO or HR leader will bring the matter to the company’s attention, but anonymous letters are much more difficult to investigate and substantiate. Your boss will be asked about it and probably try to explain the situation away, whereas a formal complaint is more likely to see his behaviour addressed.

How often can you change jobs without it being detrimental to your career? I love the industry I work in, and I have no plans to leave, but I get bored easily and often mull my next move. The longest I have been in the same company was five years and have been in my current job for just over two. I do envy those people who manage to stay in the same job, or work for the same employer, for much longer. As time goes by, should I learn to prioritise longevity and loyalty over change?

These days staying with the one employer for five years is quite a long time. The latest HILDA report research shows the average tenure for people on an award wage is 3.7 years. Job tenure is also lower for younger workers. I wouldn’t be too hard on yourself for having two jobs in seven years. The bigger issue is it sounds like you haven’t found the role or employer where you feel you fit and want to stay much longer. Once you do, longevity and loyalty will follow. When you think about where you hope to see yourself in five years’ time, what does that picture look like? This might help you identify what it is you are looking for rather than focusing on the number of years in each role.

Send your questions about work, careers and leadership to Your name and any identifying information will not be used. Letters may be edited.

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