In most instances, I’d caution people to avoid badmouthing their employers – even former employers – on Twitter. Usually, this reflects equally, if not more, poorly on the complainer than the employer.
However, one salesman took to Twitter to complain that his employer had fired him after he told he he was depressed and seeking help – and Twitter responded with outpourings of support, rage at his employer, and plenty of legal advice.
He didn’t mean to start a Twitter campaign, but Roy Ward (@badlydrawnroy)’s work situation apparently struck a chord with Twitter and went viral.
It all started with the following tweet earlier this week:
Dear Twitter, I just opened up to my boss about my depression and she’s indicated she might have to fire me. Erm, help?
— Roy(@badlydrawnroy) January 17, 2012
Since then, the original tweet has been retweeted more than 50 times, and Ward has had to handle an influx of about 3,000 new Twitter followers.
The Telegraph soon caught wind of the story, adding fuel to the fire and spreading Ward’s story even further.
Ward had apparently approached his employer about his depression, only to receive a letter of dismissal and “We’re a small company, there’s no room for passengers” as a response. After tweeting about his firing, Ward’s username @badlydrawnroy hit the trending topics and his story made its way to some big names in the UK: Tory MP Louise Mensch, Alastair Campbell and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
Ward has also received plenty of legal advice from concerned Twit-izens – so much so that he’s had to direct their advice to his email in order to handle it all.
And before you complain that he was just seeking attention or trying to get him employer in trouble, consider this: Ward never posted the name of his employer on Twitter, and seemed genuinely disappointed that someone was able to piece it together:
Some clever bugger has worked out who I worked for. Genuinely not what I wanted to happen, I don’t want to ruin anyone else’s job.
— Roy(@badlydrawnroy) January 18, 2012
Whether this show of social media support will win Ward’s job back, give him pause to consider a wrongful dismissal lawsuit, or maybe even land him a new job is yet to be seen. Still, it’s a great story illustrating how Twitter can amplify a message – sometimes so much it becomes far more than the original sender intended.