5 Reasons Blogging Leads to the Unemployment Line (You’re Fired!)
We wait with excitement for Trump to say “You’re Fired” on TV, but it isn’t nearly as entertaining in real life. Building a blog with a large audience is hard work. It can be like moonlighting with a second career. It takes attention away from other aspects of your life, like your primary career. It can have negative consequences.
Mainstream media has documented several cases of people being fired for blogging. Here are five of the reasons why.
photo by magnus
5. Lateness, Absenteeism, Lack of Focus
Blogging is a hobby that it is easy to become passionate about. You set your own hours, you write what you want to write about, and you can get near-instant response. All that passion can take away from other aspects of your life and lead to late nights, showing up late to work, and frequent “sick days” or “working from home”. These are signs of an obsession more than a passion.
“… was dismissed for excessive absenteeism, failure to meet the continuing educational requirements we expect and demand from our staff, misuse of company time and resources, attempting to create divisiveness among the staff, and finally, the insubordination of creating a blog that is in direct conflict to the goals of the company.” – actual dismissal notice of a blogger
fark photoshop by cote
4. Misuse of Company Time and Resources
Dates and time are recorded on all blog posts and comments. Writing a blog is like creating an log of how you’ve been goofing off during work hours – and anyone can read it. Even if you restrict blogging to your personal time, your blog might be giving the wrong impression. Quite often dates and times are wrong because of incorrect time zone settings or using the future posts feature. Never forget that company Internet use is logged and monitored.
“Two out of three British Internet users lose significant portions of their time to irrelevant web browsing, a study said on Tuesday. Workers confronted with the almost unlimited pool of online information become distracted and begin ‘wilfing,’ short for ‘What Was I Looking For?’.” – Reuters
photo by laughing squid
3. Becoming an Unofficial Spokesperson for the Company
If you publicize your name and occupation then your personal blog can become an unofficial outlet for information about the company. People will look to you for the inside track about what is going on and take your opinion as the opinion of your employer, despite any disclaimers to the contrary. Blogging can change you from an employee to a source of news about your employer.
photo by cathycracks
2. Inappropriate Pictures
Inappropriateness is in the eye of the beholder. People have been fired for sexually suggestive images and substance abusing images (especially if in uniform). Others have been fired for public pictures of inappropriate behavior in the workplace. Some companies disallow cameras on the premise altogether, and people have been fired for publishing any photos of company locations because it is a “security issue”.
“A Pennsylvania woman claims that her teaching career has been derailed by college administrators who unfairly disciplined her over a MySpace photo that shows her wearing a pirate hat and drinking from a plastic cup.” – The Smoking Gun
photo by gymnart
1. Disclosing Internal Company Information or Politics
Companies like to control their image. Any corporate communication with the public is examined and re-examined at different levels. Blogging cuts through that hierarchy like a hot knife through a block of lard. Writing about your company’s internal practices, alluding to sensitive information like product release dates / product features, or saying disparaging things about a client / business associate can all return to haunt you.
“I put up a post on Twitter that I wish I hadn’t. I said that I don’t read the hard copy of PC Magazine and that my free subscription goes in the trash. In a guest editorial on Strumpette you weighed whether the magazine in response should blacklist all PR pitches from Edelman, my employer, on behalf of our tech clients.” – Steve Rubel
photo by traveler2020
Infamous Cases of People Fired Because of Their Blog
- Heather Armstrong was a web designer
- Joyce Park worked for Friendster
- Mark Jen worked for Google
- Michael Hanscom worked for a Microsoft Copy Shop
- Queen of Sky was a flight attendant for Delta airlines
- Drew Townsend worked for Mercenary Audio
- Garth Turner was a member of the Canadian Conservative political party
- Catherine Sanderson was a secretary
Will I Get Fired Because of My Blog?
Don’t be fooled by mainstream media’s coverage of blogging. When you do the math it is obvious that out of 15 million active blogs, the ratio of people fired versus people happily blogging their little hearts out is quite low. For every person who has been fired for their blog there have been many more who have had a job opportunities because of blogging. Many people have turned the notoriety behind their firing into new opportunities like book deals. Blogs and social media sites are a serious threat to mainstream media sites like newspapers and magazines, and the negative reporting may be as simple as old media looking down on new media.
However, it *is* smart to remember that the Internet is a public space. Do not confuse obscurity with privacy because obscurity does not last. Follow common sense and never post anything that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face or you would be ashamed to show someone. Be aware if your corporation has a blogging policy (even my local community center has a blog / MySpace / Facebook policy for their instructors).
photo by dizzydot
Don’t put on the tinfoil hat and self-censor too much though. If the fur does hit the fan it will likely be over something so small that you would have never thought to censor yourself. Besides, if your blog is a true representation of who you are then why would you want to work for someone who was ashamed of that?
5 Reasons You’ll Get Hired Because of Your Blog
- Blogging makes you stand out from the crowd
- Blogs are the modern resume (ask Doug)
- Blogging helps you expand your network of contacts
- Blogging is a great way to learn new skills
- Blogging can be a career of its own
This was written as part of a ProBlogger group writing project