October 26, 2011
Secretly videotaping your co-workers with your smartphone
There's sure to be lots of talk of scary supervisors and creepy co-workers this week. But you know what's really scary? The person at work who secretly uses their smartphone to record unflattering, embarrassing, or compromising videos of their colleagues.
[Photo by alifeinbits]
In a recent online survey commissioned by webcast software company Qumu, 50 percent of respondents said they would happily use their smartphone to record the office underbelly, from tackily clad co-workers or nasty grooming habits to an admin wiping out on a freshly mopped floor or the boss sneaking a second donut when she thinks no one's looking.
What's more, 57 percent of the of 2,361 U.S. adults polled in the survey claimed it would be a hoot -- or at the very least, "interesting" -- if someone they work with were to share one of these embarrassing videos on the company network.
The video your fellow working stiffs would most like to see? That of a colleague getting punk'd.
And the runners-up?
- A co-worker doing a dead-on impression of the boss
- A C-suite executive having to make coffee
- A colleague sleeping on the job
- Rank-and-filers horsing around when they think no one's looking
- Someone stuffing their face in the office break room
- An office party that ends with slurred words, sloppy kisses, pools of vomit, or other workplace-inappropriate behavior
I won't lie. On a couple of occasions, I've used my cell phone in downtown Seattle to snap a photo of a random passerby wearing a "You've got to see it to believe it!" outfit so I could share it with a friend. But I find the idea of playing candid camera with colleagues at the office a little frightening.
What if your boss doesn't appreciate you digitally documenting her two-donut-a-day habit and takes her grudge all the way to your annual review? What if that video you shot of your officemate Oliver snoring through the CEO's speech falls into the hands of a humorless higher-up, or worse, a sneaky social media junkie at a competing company?
Rib your work friends all you like if that's what gets you through the week. And if you must poke fun at the boss, do so among trusted friends, preferably off company premises. But whatever you do, resist the urge to press Record. Why leave a digital trail that can come back to haunt you later?
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
Paul Anderson helps professionals in transition find their desired employment.
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