Impersonal

Michelle remarked my blog posts over the years have become technical. I wanted to say “too technical”, but I don’t think she actually wrote that. Instead of writing about the personal aspects of my work I only write about the mechanics.

Over the years I’ve read quite a bit about the trouble people get into by blogging. Rumors have spread based on reading way too much into ambiguously written posts. Friends writing about rumors or even frustrations regarding work resulted in huge dramatic, scary events where jobs could have been lost. A Microsoft employee posted pictures of Macintosh computers at his work which resulted in his termination. An airline employee posed for photographs in uniform was terminated for the photos and maybe statements about work. Blogging about work is like placing mines in a field while blindfolded. One really doesn’t know what will set one off.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has an article called How to Blog Safely (About Work or Anything Else) which has a section called “Blog Without Getting Fired” which says,

The First Amendment protects speech from being censored by the government; it does not regulate what private parties (such as most employers) do. In states with “at will” employment laws like California, employers can fire you at any time, for any reason. And no state has laws that specifically protect bloggers from discrimination, on the job or otherwise.

Being the test case of a law which may or not protect me doesn’t strike me as the smartest move.

I have thought about abandoning the blogs. Blogging anonymously would require more subterfuge than I could muster. So my final recourse to keep blogging involves treading lightly and avoiding sensitive topics like anything which could possibly be construed as criticism of a coworker or the organization. That means pretty much not talking about people or organization. My posts focus on tools and processes. Things without feelings.

2 thoughts on “Impersonal”

  1. As someone who ended up in a conference call at 11:00 PM on a Friday night with some marketing folks in Europe and a corporate VP on the line over what I thought was a harmless blog post, I can certainly identify with your concerns. Turns out the marketing folks had overreacted and this particular corporate VP was, at one point, my supervisor, so I came out rather unscathed. Nevertheless, that weekend was not one of the more pleasant weekends in my life.

  2. On the other hand, you do give us glimpses of your personal and spiritual life. That’s more interesting than workplace sketches, in my opinion.

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