Tuesday, 25 July 2006

Petite Anglaise

Just needed a break from the client's, so have spent the last half hour surfing the web. Looked up some "old" sites I used to visit. One of them was QueenOfSky, which was novel about a year ago. An American woman got fired from her job as a flight attendant because she published some photos of herself posing in one of the planes. Saucy rather than smutty, but the airline found out, took offence and fired her. As I say, this was about a year or eighteen months ago, and the blog ever since has just been her on her life. Ceased to be interesting for me.

But one of the things I noticed today was that Queen of Sky's blog referred to another woman, a Brit living in Paris, has just been fired because her workplace found out about the blog she kept. Petite Anglaise. So I visited that site also. I must admit that it would be great to live and work in France (though not necessarily Paris) - something I have always wanted to do - but the trouble is in IT London is pretty much the capital of Europe, so it would be difficult to find roles as challenging or as well-paid in France. Plus now, of course, there is the family to think about. I remember a guy I met on a contract about 10 years ago used to wax lyrically about the time he spent working down in Monte Carlo!

But on the subject of getting fired for blogging, it is a difficult one. Certainly, if you don't want people to read your entries, I think the only answer is not to blog. I mean, I suspect very few people visit my blog (in fact I could find out is I bothered looking at the web server logs), but I know that some people have found it because they've emailed me.

I would say straight away that I have no idea what Petite Anglaise wrote about her employers in her blog, whether is amounted to "grosss misconduct" or not - I have only read entries from the last few days - but from personal experience I think that one needs to analyse the risk of what one is saying, and if there is any doubt, don't say it. In my case I have no need to worry about my "employer", since I own my own company, but I do make a conscious effort either to mention clients not at all, or only in very general terms, and probably 95% of the time I succeed. The other 5% is generally frustration and even this I try to temper. We all have days when clients/bosses are complete arses, but when this happens to me I try to be professional and to let it slide.

But I suppose there is no protecting people whose employer simply decides that they don't like the principle of their employees blogging. Since I suppose blogs do have an element of "subversion" about them, bloggers are probably more likely to write something criticising someone rather than praising them. I suppose in a work situation therefore it becomes easy for employers to interpret blogs as "misconduct".

Apparently this woman talked about what went on at her office christmas party. Well, my tip is to play it safe and not go to 'em. Pretty much the last christmas party I went to was in 1989, my first year in gainful employment. But then I'm a miserable git!

So if any bloggers do read this, remember, let's be careful out there...

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