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Can Vacation Photos Hurt Your Career?

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You’ve been endlessly plugging away at work for months; spending late nights at the office and wishing that someone would invent a coffee IV already. Impressing your boss at every turn can be exhausting, so you start desperately counting down the days to when you can finally get some R & R and your skin can soak in some much needed vitamin D. You know the light at the end of the tunnel is near: Your vacation.

If you’re like most people, then your first move when you get back is to immediately post your photos on all forms of social media. You want to relish in the glory of your vacation for as long as possible, so show others how much fun you had. But you might want to start thinking twice–your vacation photos may hurt your career:

1. Coworker FOMO

As silly as it may be, coworkers could resent you for your vacation photos. (Click here to tweet this thought.) While they’re stuck in the dreary office and staring at pictures of you with your toes in the sand, it could spark some serious FOMO (fear of missing out). Everyone wishes they could take a sixth month vacation, twice a year, and the reminder that they’re not on vacation usually doesn’t sit well. Furthermore, no one genuinely enjoys covering for a coworker while they’re out of the office, and then to have the photos inadvertently thrown in their face just adds salt to the wound.

2. Extravagant spending

If your boss, or anyone in upper management, sees the photos from your extravagant vacation, you don’t want them thinking, “are we paying her too much?” or questioning how serious you are about you career based on your carefree (or wild) spirit captured in the photos.

3. A damaged reputation

The most obvious thing to consider before uploading any photos is whether or not they may damage your reputation. Would you be comfortable with coworkers knowing how you look in a bikini or six drinks deep? Any scantily clad photos or ones that show inebriation could cause your coworkers to think of you in a different light.

While it’s hard to refrain entirely from not posting a single vacation photo, here are a couple tips to keep in mind if you just can’t fight the urge:

Keep the amount of vacation posts to a minimum.

Multiple albums or constant tweets about your vacation are unnecessary and also may come off as bragging. No one wants to see 30 pictures of you in front of the same palm tree.

Be smart about the photos you do post.

Pictures showing you immersed in the culture, learning a new skill or making a new networking connection show that your vacation was also a learning experience–not just a break from reality.

Amy Wolf graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and is a newbie to Chicago. When she is not exploring the city and spending time at Lake Michigan, she enjoys trying new recipes, obsessing over her planner, and listening to country music. Amy can be easily won over with dark chocolate, flowers, Carmex lip balm, and Cocoa Cola. Find her on Twitter @_A_Wolf

Brazen powers real-time, online events for leading organizations around the world. Our lifestyle and career blog, Brazen Life, offers fun and edgy ideas for ambitious professionals navigating the changing world of work.

  • Ben Lawton

    Wholeheartedly disagree with this. There’s nothing wrong with a break from reality — definitely nothing wrong with having a bit of fun. Surely the more well rounded workers — those who’re able to socialise outside of the office — will in most cases progress faster than their peers, thanks to having a bit of charisma?

    Also what sort of toxic work culture would look down on you for enjoying the money you’ve worked so hard for?

    It’s even worse that you’d be shunned for daring to be caught in the act of “being inebriated” — even if it does detract from the usual stiff upper-lip image the so many try to project in front of their colleagues.

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