Women Empowerment And The Digital Friendship With The Office Boss

By Tabassum Tahmina Shagufta Hussein 

Tabassum Tahmina Shagufta Hussein is an aesthete from Dhaka, Bangladesh & MA holder in British &American Literature. She has also Master’s degree in Human Resources Management from University of Dhaka. Hometown Chittagong has deep impact in her writings. She has served as the member of the Governing body of Mirsarai College, Chittagong. In professional life she was the faculty of Department of English in Daffodil International University, State University of Bangladesh, University of Asia Pacific and South-East University. She has also served as the Head of Training of Human Recourses Division in Bank Asia Ltd.  Now a Free-lance writer, she is a Contributor for Different Truths Publications, India, featuring humanitarian to diverse issues. She is the weekly Translator for, Point Edition, ITHACA Foundation, Spain.  Her debut was as a poet in the Our Poetry Archive ‘s Spiritual Poetry Beyond Borders Anthology, 2018.She has contributed to other news portals. She is the Contributor Columnist in Bangladeshi Print newspaper Our Time and The Good morning. She has contributed to London School of Economics Human Rights Blog as well.  Her poems also appeared in several literary magazines. She is the 2nd KEL (Korean Expatriate Literature.) International Poet Award Winner 2021. This award is meant to encourage poets who participate in the international exchange of poetry annually and Bridging the Waters, a poetry anthology published every three years. In her stories published in the year 2021, she tries to delve deeper into human psyche with a view to exploring the factors that influence it. She has contributed to six Anthologies so far. She loves travelling and participates in recitations. Her late father is the inspiration for human rights and equity related writings. Her mother is the inspiration for her continuity of the writing and writings related to contemporary issues. Her daughter is her inspiration to the child welfare related writings. She seeks beauty from the blade of grass to twinkling stars. Aestheticism and humanism are the essences of her existence. She is the International Fellow 2020 of International Human Rights Arts Festival. She can be reached at tts.hussein@gmail.com  

We live in third world countries. We speak about a lot about women empowerment. But we mainly focus on the economic empowerment. What about empowerment of freedom of expression and choice? There is no doubt that women in the subcontinent and other third world countries women have achieved praiseworthy empowerment in comparison to the previous situation namely in the twentieth century. The rural women can be cited as a commendable example. The urban women are no exception. In the economic sense of the term, they are independent. But how their voices are heard at the workplace. Some women can be quite hesitant to refuse digital friendship with the Boss in the office. Why is that so? It is understandable that they might not be comfortable. But they still accept the digital friendship unwillingly. Because they feel insecure. They feel that the refusal may affect the work relationship with the boss. The mind set-up is men are not used to the word “No” from women. The time is changing. It is women’s duty to learn how to say “no” if they are uncomfortable with the digital friendship with the male boss or colleague.

On the other hand, many women do not accept the digital friendship with the boss when even they are willing. Because still they are stuck with the stigma of the society. They fear society may give pure digital friendship in both professional and personal manner, a gossip color.

On the other hand, some male workers are also uncomfortable with the digital friendship with the female boss for the gossip reasons. The other noteworthy reason is that they don’t know how to accept and go on with the digital friendship with the male/female boss for the gossip reasons.  And some women do not know how to reject because of fear. Women are in high numbers in this category. It is high time to learn the ways of digital friendship with the boss. And also the etiquette and manners to follow to have a digital friendship with the office boss.

Imagine a scenario that you are scrolling on your social media feed, and you suddenly see a pop-up, and it’s from your boss. It could be a friend or follow request. If it’s a friend or follow request, will you accept it? Will you open up your personal life to the scrutiny of your boss? Or do you not? Accept it, and then it could be a complicated situation at work?

All of you people who are applying for a job should know that now companies are scrutinizing not just your CV or looking at your marks. But also observing and vetting your social profile carefully. Those wanting to move up the ladder from middle management to top management, well, you are likely going to be screened for your social media posts as well.

First, before accepting a digital friend request from your boss, you really need an internal assessment. There are some questions that you need to ask yourself. You need to understand your social profile and yourself first.

Are you using your social media to share career milestones? Or is it more of a family and friend sort of network? It is a fundamental question.

Are you more of a private person and don’t want your boss to know your personal life details? If the answer is “yes”, the best thing to do is to let your boss know. Politely approach them and explain this page is reserved for only family and friends.

Are you the person who loves to live stream? And there is nothing wrong with that. It differs from person to person.

Are you a social media junky? If the answer is “yes”, then you need to follow some basics. Avoid sharing grievances, judgement and restrain are the keys to the castle on social media.

Ask yourself if your work status or employment going to be improved by social media activities.

Ask yourself if you have to change your online activity now that your boss is already following you.

Either way, once you have got your hands off the questions, having a boss on your friend list means there should be some rules which you shouldn’t forget. You might be very friendly with your boss, but even then, you need to remember that you need to make sure that you understand using copyright and other constraints.

Follow social media etiquette. Being an employee, you don’t disclose information about clients. You must not be dishonorable in terms of racial, ethnic dishonorable slurs. Stay away from posting or sharing fake news and propaganda. What’s said on social media stays in social media. Remember, don’t go up and pick up a fight with somebody in your workplace regarding posts in the middle of your coffee conversation.

Remember that passion is healthy anger is not. Posts in anger are almost always a recipe for disaster, even at the workplace. Don’t use pseudo-identity. Talking in the first person on social media generally works but it is not a good way. People don’t have conversations with icons. They have conversations with people. So, ensure that your engagement level and the terminology are once you are on social media.

Respect the offline rules. At times, it is only polite to ask permission from other people in a photo if you can post it online. Remember your workplace. It’s not wrong for bosses to expect responsible social media usages during working hours.

 If you want to befriend your boss, it’s okay. One of the sound signals of your boss sending you a friend request is you share a warm relationship with your boss. You always have an option of limiting access to what you want to share with them. You can do this with caution. At the end of the day, social media is about perception. If you don’t want to befriend your boss, it’s okay as well. Then you will have to be intelligent and strong enough to say “no”. You can say that you are a private person, and this is how you like to continue. And you prefer to befriend them on a professional network. But the point is to make sure that you discuss it out and don’t ignore it. Ignoring it might not work out well.

You are the Ambassador of your social media brand. Whether your boss is on social media or not, you have to be cautious and careful of what you are opinionating on, and you have to do it right. Don’t go utterly ballistic on social media. Make sure and understand that future recruiters or your growth prospects might be refereed based on how you react to the things happening in the world. The empowerment will remain incomplete if there is no freedom of choice and expression. Let’s overcome fear and accept or reject the digital friendship with your boss according to your choice.


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