Category Archives: 3. News You Can Use

Has TikTok Become the New Office Watercooler?

TikTok users expect to view videos featuring adorable animals, random people singing or dancing, and, well, just about anything. But work advice, job-related grousing, and office gossip?


Since the pandemic, more and more workers have moved their work complaints from the proverbial watercooler to the popular video platform. The hashtag #careertiktok has generated 1.5 billion views and features vlogs in which workers rage, cry, and tell tales out of school.

This phenomenon points to a major shift in how and where people talk about their workplace experiences. Previously, professional work-related platforms offered posts about career milestones and successes. However, the new TikTok-as-watercooler trend allows vloggers to show their vulnerability and talk about taboo situations such as salary transparency and discrimination.

It began when employees were sent home during the COVID-19 pandemic, many to work in spaces not meant to be used as an office. At the same time, these isolated workers lost the perks of being in an office—free client dinners, camaraderie with office mates, office parties—and moldered in the lonely grind of work, work, work. The only place to vent was online. Even LinkedIn, the leading professional networking platform, saw an overwhelming number of posts about stress, burnout, and mental health. But TikTok quickly became the go-to outlet for disenchanted, overworked, and unhappy employees.

Then, as businesses slowly reopened but many continued to work remotely, the need for work-related content on social platforms skyrocketed as a means to take the place of in-person contact. A new job category, “workfluencers,” even appeared. These people create content and include behind-the-scenes information about jobs and fields and are often tell-alls. But while such sharing can be lucrative—workfluencers often hawk products, subscriptions, and services to increase their own bottom lines—it can have downsides. Many organizations consider social media creators both a blessing and a curse, pointing out that while a single voice can carry a great deal of power, that power can get others interested or just as easily uninterested in a company.

Other repercussions have occurred, not the least of which is a lack of professionalism. Take the case of “the crying CEO,” who posted a photo of himself sobbing after he laid off staff. His desire to share may have come from an honest emotion, but social media trolls called him “disgusting,” and “self-serving.” Another employee who boasted about the many perks at her company prompted derisive comments, including one from a venture capitalist who wrote, “Doesn’t anyone still work?”

Sharing—or oversharing—about a job can also lead to more dire consequences. A woman who posted about her job at Meta disturbed her employer so much that it launched investigations into her complaints, leaving her so humiliated that she quit.

The bottom line is that just because one can do something—like post a video or share compromising information or opinions—doesn’t mean one should.


  1. Why could having a large following on TikTok be a mixed blessing?
  2. What are some topics that should be avoided on social networks and why?
  3. Why should a new employee become well versed in the organization’s policies on sharing publicly on social media?

Based on Rice, M. (2022, November 10.) The rise of the ‘workfluencer.” Business Insider. Retrieved from

Are Carbon Offsets Working?

Carbon offsets—tradable credits used to compensate for carbon dioxide emissions caused by industrial or other human activities—rose in popularity in the early 2000s in an attempt for companies to show their commitment to battling climate change.

They work like this: A company that emits carbon dioxide as part of its business (think airlines) buys carbon credits to support certified activities that do good, whether that is community development, using technology to reduce or remove damaging emissions, or even protecting ecosystems. Examples include reforestation, creating renewable energy, and waste management, often in developing countries.

All this sounds positive. However, critics have voiced doubts about the efficacy of the practice. Recently The Guardian conducted an investigation that revealed 90 percent of rainforest carbon offsets approved by the world’s biggest certifier do not represent “genuine carbon reductions.” The certifier in question is Verra, a nonprofit that sets the standards for carbon emission reductions, and it denies The Guardian’s accusations, stating that the analysis “massively miscalculates” project impacts by not calculating what would have happened if the venture had never been attempted.

Among buyers of Verra’s carbon offsets are Disney, Shell, and Gucci, all of which face damage to their reputations as supporters of pro-environmental policies since the release of The Guardian’s reporting. Still, even with the criticisms, carbon offsets remain a popular tool for organizations because they allow business activities to continue while the organization buys time to decarbonize its operations. Moreover, the credits can benefit developing nations in the form of carbon-mitigating projectc.

Clearly the tool of carbon credits has merit, but it is doomed if companies lose trust that their investments actually work. To counter this scenario, The Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market, an independent governing body for the voluntary carbon trading market, plans to issue verification processes in the near future. Other independent groups are issuing their own standards.

Nevertheless, it is likely that individual organizations will have to dig into the performance of their carbon offset choices themselves. A recent Wall Street Journal article suggests using price as a prime indicator of the quality of any given program. The WSJ compares the cost of a carbon credit to a dinner choice: A $5 seafood pasta will likely not be of the same quality as a $50 meal. The same logic works for carbon offsets.


  1. Why would an organization voluntarily commit to buying carbon offsets?
  2. Why do you think protecting forests is one of the most popular carbon offset choices?
  3. Why do you think carbon offsets remain controversial?

Toplensky, R. (2023, January 19.) Carbon credits: Buyer beware. WSJPro Sustainable Business Newsletter.





Likability as Important as Skills in Interviews

Does the thought of an interview make you grumpy? Remote? Aloof? Overly nervous? Those reactions can kill your chances even if you have the right credentials for the job. It turns out that likability—being pleasing to others—is just as, if not more, important as skills when it comes to landing a job.

Likability has many faces. It can mean having charisma, being warm, and making others feel comfortable. In the workplace likability includes intangible factors such as being easy to work with and having a positive attitude and more concrete ones such as possessing good listening skills and performing as a reliable team member.

Some people are blessed with natural likability, which pays off during a job interview. Others must work to attain the quality. Below are unlikable behaviors to avoid during a job interview.

  1. Bragging. During an interview, people naturally want to boost their image. However, overdoing it is a likability killer. Avoid droning on about every good quality you may possess; the better strategy is to focus on a few powerful defining characteristics that can be buttressed with stories and examples illustrating those properties.
  2. Being self-centered. In may sound counter-intuitive to not talk about oneself, but interviewers would rather answer questions than listen to blatant self-promotion. During the interview, the candidate should concentrate on the audience’s needs (i.e., the people conducting the interview) and show interest in what they say.
  3. Overconfidence. Candidates should avoid oozing arrogance and assuming they already have the job. Modesty wins over brash confidence. Instead of saying I have everything you’re looking for and When do I start?, opt for the more humble I believe I could handle the job responsibilities and Thanks for your time. I look forward to your decision.
  4. Being distant. Interviews can be intimidating, but if answers to questions are terse, the candidate will come across as distant. Similarly, any skilled interviewer can sniff out canned answers. Being authentic—even admitting nervousness—will work better than allowing anxiety to curb the natural flow of conversation.
  5. Being too casual. While coming across as relaxed in an interview is beneficial, being overly casual is not. That means arriving on time, dressing professionally for the industry, thanking the recruiter, and sending a post-interview thank you note. It also means using more formal language. A slangy greeting such as Hey, how’s it going, bro? should be replaced with the more formal It’s nice to meet you.
  6. Misreading the audience. Recruiters or hiring managers will be turned off if candidates talk about other job offers or do not show adequate interest in the current position. Rather than asking what the organization can offer, interviewees should talk about what they can give to the firm.

It’s probable that most job seekers will be interviewing for the rest of their professional careers. Learning to be likable is well worth the time.


  1. Name traits that make an individual unlikable.
  2. What are some actions a person can take to become more likable?
  3. Why is practicing answers to typical interview questions a good idea?


Reference: Humphrey, J. (2023, January 9.) 6 common mistakes that sabotage your likability in a job interview. FastCompany. Retrieved from