There are some jobs you just want to warn others about. Maybe you had a boss that micromanaged your every move, or your pay remained embarrassingly low despite your stellar work ethic. For any number of reasons, you may feel compelled to write a review and share your salary on one of the many online review sites like Glassdoor or Indeed.
But if you’ve ever read a review for your current or recent workplace and tried to guess who wrote it, you might be worried that sharing any information about your experience means you could be easily identified. Before airing your grievances, take some steps to protect your identify if you want the info you share to truly be anonymous.
How to share your salary anonymously
If you’re leaving a review with salary information for a previous job, you may not be worried about this. But what if you want to spill the tea on your current employer?
The bigger the company, the easier this is to do. If you work at a smaller company or are the only employee with your job title, you may need to cover your tracks a bit. You might do so by rounding your salary up or down or by noting a more general role with your salary — maybe “Marketing” instead of “Senior Marketing Operations Manager II.”
“People aren’t necessarily going to be sleuthing around to figure out how much money you are (or were) making,” said Courtney C.W. Guerra, author of Is This Working? The Businesslady’s Guide to Getting What You Want from Your Career. “Unless you know you have nosy enemies out there, the odds of someone using that info against you are probably pretty low.”
How to share workplace details anonymously
Reviews can be even more stressful, because not only can your opinions give you away, your writing style can too. To avoid scrutiny, stick with the facts and don’t let any grudges you’re holding creep into your write-up.
Guerra warns against saving your grievances for online review sites. “Speak up while you’re still employed… or when you’re leaving, and you might actually prompt improvements that benefit your current or former colleagues,” she said, acknowledging that some workplaces are more open to feedback and employee suggestions than others.
“Avoid the impulse to treat it as a roast,” Guerra said. “Write a review that merely echoes those comments in a politic, straightforward way — devoid of snarky editorialisations — and you won’t have to worry too much about being associated with it.”
And if you truly work in hell, throw that nosy HR boss off the scent by leaving a few head-scratchers. If the review site prompts you to share how long you worked there, for example, go ahead and fudge the answer. “Just throw in some red herring details when you write that scathing review,” Guerra said. Since sites like Glassdoor are most useful for prospective employees, the people most likely to read your review won’t notice that type of discrepancy.
Don’t forget the legalese
If you still find yourself worried that your review could be traced back to you, try to identify what part is making you nervous and remove it from the review.
The reason is not to show some sense of decorum, but rather to cover your butt from any legal retaliation. Your employment agreement may outline parts of your job or aspects of your company that must be kept confidential during and perhaps even after your departure. You may be able to dispute any protests from your place of employement, but it’s best to stay on the safe side.
Glassdoor advises reviewers to avoid legal messes by getting a sense check from someone else: “If you are in doubt, and you really want to make your point, ask a friend to read your review before you post it on Glassdoor.”