Fired for Blogging

june 15, 2005

It made news a while back and it looks like it is picking up steam again: Getting fired for blogging. USA Today is running an article on people getting fired for blogging and also on what companies are doing about blogging guidelines. The article is overly zealous about blogging ("Blogs are proliferating as fast as a computer virus." Huh?), but has some good examples of what people should and should not do with their blogs. Most of it is common sense. For instance, don't write about proprietary unannounced products that your company is working on. Well, duh.

Mark Jen, 22, of San Francisco started his blog in January to chronicle his life and new job as an associate product manager at Google. He wrote comments about future potential products and lost his job two weeks later, he says, because of his blog.
How about this one: Don't slander or write maliciously about your boss or your company online. What gets posted on the web stays on the web. Think twice about what you write because once it is up, it will be up there forever (remember that Cache link on Google? It'll save a copy of your stuff for an eternity). And access to the posting will be unlimited unless you make it private -- and with searches from Google and Yahoo, it will be pretty easy to find also. If you wouldn't stand up in the middle of your floor at work and say it, then don't write it in your blog.
Peter Whitney decided to launch a blog on the Internet to chronicle his life, his friends and his job at a division of Wells Fargo. Then he began taking jabs at a few people he worked with.
And then there's the truly stupid. If you are a lazy ass who takes two-hour lunches; is delinquent from work when working from home; and takes naps under the desk at work; then don't document it on your blog. Of course, some may say that this was evolutionary: Those dumb enough to document their lazy behaviour probably deserved to be fired.
Heather Armstrong was fired in February 2002 by the Los Angeles-based software firm where she worked after venting online about the company on her blog, dooce.com. Some excerpts from her blog: Take a two-hour lunch: one hour for the bean burrito, one hour for the nap in the front seat of your car. Reasons I should not be allowed to work from home: Too many cushiony horizontal surfaces prime for nappage. ... I can lie down underneath my desk, and no one is going to know. No one.
Come on people. Exercise some common sense when it comes to your blogs.