Now more than ever, workplace protocol includes posting on social media about your new job, promotions, the success of your business venture, your graduation, awards won, favorable media coverage, or any of your other major projects and milestones. But be careful—the emotional highs of sharing positive news can lower your contentment with your daily work life or lead you toward flashy but misaligned opportunities.
New and big announcements generate a lot of “likes” from your network and create a buzz around your professional brand. That feels good. Researchersat UCLA’s Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center found that the reaction to likes on social media may mimic the same chemical rush of winning money or eating chocolate.
And to be clear, you’ve earned these accomplishments and are deserving of the feel-good shot of dopamine each new like and congratulatory message brings.
But if in between your big announcements the reality of your work life includes mostly boring or dogged, grueling days, you may be confusing praise for progress and unknowingly building an unfulfilling career.
To avoid pointing your ambitions toward the wrong goals, here are five do’s and don’ts to help you make work-related announcements on social media while steering your career toward the things you want most.
1. Do decide what success looks like for you
Some announcements may signal success to your network more than others, but don’t let that shape how you view the announcement. Before you approve that post or tweet make sure you already know how you feel about your accomplishment. Is it huge news pointing you in a new and exciting direction? If so, be prepared to hold on to that feeling even if the social media reaction fails to meet your expectation. Is this a meaningless award or a project you were less than enthused about? If so, don’t let the online reaction trick you into overvaluing the event, which can lead your motivations astray.
2. Don’t let work define you
Work is an important part of your life, but it is not your whole life. And while there are fewer clear moments of accomplishment, if any, when you show up as a good parent, partner, family member, friend or for yourself, these things matter just as much. Who you are and what you do is not the same thing and it is especially important to keep that in mind when all the fanfare around your work announcement spikes. Stay rooted in your values and the multifaceted dimensions of your life.
3. Do use your announcement to attract what you really want
You could skip posting your work announcements all together, but that would also be a career mistake. What you put out into the world will generate new opportunities, but be thoughtful about the type of opportunities you want to create. If you hate your current profession and are secretly seeking a career pivot, be careful to not brand yourself further in the field you want to leave. Instead, make sure each work announcement is about a topic you seek greater association with and where you want to head next.
4. Don’t get caught up in the moment
It’s hard to resist the inherent excitement that comes from making a big announcement, and you may get caught up in the whirlwind. This is particularly true when changing jobs, as your personal network will also be enthusiastic about your news. Take in all this goodness, but don’t forget that while you are top of mind today, people will move on quickly; this is why you want to be sure that the announcements you are making are shaping your real and daily life in a way that is enjoyable. You will eventually be back to living those regular days and you don’t want to be left disappointed once the spotlight is abruptly turned off.
5. Do remember the journey
By the time you have something to announce, there has likely been a string of days where you had to keep doing your best with no guarantee that your effort would result in a favorable outcome. While all the praise is coming your way, don’t forget the times of uncertainty. Take this opportunity to remind yourself that even when you can’t clearly see the path forward, new and better things continue to develop in your life. Try to hold on to that lesson when fear and trepidation inevitably show up again.