We all know online time is addictive. And … let’s face it … fun. Social media. Google search. Wandering down an internet rabbit hole and finding all kinds of interesting things you never knew existed. But too much time online at work is NOT a great job skill. Unless you are doing your actual job, of course.
I know that escaping into your computer or mobile device can often feel like it’s the one thing keeping you sane in your job. Been there. Done that. And to a point a little escape time is good. But I just want you to know that there can also be downsides that are hurting you.
Too much time online? Why it matters.
There are positive rewards and relationships that can come from your online time. And I will get to that soon. But let’s first look at the ways that it might NOT be helping you or your career:
- Your online time becomes a quick & easy way to get immediate “feedback rewards.” If your boss is ignoring you or you feel unheard, the internet always “hears” you. Or so it can feel.
- Meanwhile, you may be missing chances to improve how you feel about your job — and how it feels about you.
- Also, while building online relationships may wind up being useful, in-person relationships can suffer in the process. And they are often the key to career success and job satisfaction!
- And then there’s always the chance too much online time may actually get you fired. And bad job references can follow you.
So, to sum that all up, what feels good and gives you quick rewards, may actually be keeping you from connecting to your job and people in a way that would help you. And it can hurt you.
Other negatives of too much time online
When you spend a lot of time online, you kind of get sucked in. It becomes a safe place — and a big part of your reality. And, in the process, you forget that the real offline world is paying attention. If your name, thoughts, and perhaps pictures are out there, you will be found.
Also, you may be doing all of this online stuff using company email as your e-address. Just know that everything you write or send from your work computer is company property — and may come back to bite you.
If you don’t already have a personal email account, create one now. Gmail is a good place to start, but there are others. Just remember if it’s for job search, keep your handle professional … not something fun and wacky. A second personal email account can serve if you want that.
A few more thoughts
It’s true that too much online time can hurt you. Especially if it’s keeping you so distracted you miss out on chances to help how you feel about / succeed in your job. But there can also be potential career benefits to that time you spend online:
- You can connect with people in your field who become lifetime networking support.
- If you’re thinking about changing jobs or careers, online is a great place to start your research.
- You can strengthen your job skills and industry knowledge.
Still, you probably should do most of that away from work. And instead focus on finding more positive feedback and feelings of success offline. At your current job if possible.
So many opportunities for making connections and hearing about opportunities are found right in your job’s own backyard. Even if (for now) it’s a Zoom away.
More help and ideas for job success: