What we wish we'd known five years ago

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Never blog about your place of employment
efassor wrote in modernwisdom
By all means blog about the work you do as long as it is legal for you to do so and not a horrendous breach of contract (minor breaches of contract are generally overlooked). But never blog about your colleagues, remunerative packages, employers, or specifc working environment. General observations about say, finance or software companies are ok, specific mentions of why you would like to re-arrange the cubicles in order not to smell coffee in the mornings or to avoid the view of your manager's ass-crack not so much.

There have been multiple incidents in recent years of people being fired from their jobs due to highly publicized or particularly popular blogs. While this is extremely rare it does happen, and even the smallest negative mention of a workplace can trigger the overreaction from a company.  Even if 90% of what you write about is completely unrelated to your workplace, if tipped off to the fact that you have a personal blog that has ever portrayed your company in a negative light, your employer will find the other 10. Or more likely their lawyers/HR assholes will.

This will almost certainly never happen. But why not make it an absolute certainty? Never blog about your place of employment. You will eventually say something incriminating, and there are far more fun ways to get fired :)

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Ironically, wherever this first appeared had clearly never heard of Livejournal and its friendslock (as a result of which about half my flist is people complaining about their work) :)

I've thought about what would happen if the LJ staff were ordered to give information about some slander someone made under a friendslock. I wonder if it's ever happened.

I would not assume anyone blogging is automatically using LiveJournal :) I for example don't use it except to post to this community.

Besides which, I would still hold it to be a good general rule. You bitch about work in the pub, not in writing on a public forum. The fact that you can make it only semi-public if you remember wouldn't change my view of that.

I would not assume anyone blogging is automatically using LiveJournal :)

? I'm not, but you appear to be assuming that they're automatically not. Blogs aren't necessarily public.

True. But they are a written record of your (for example) lack of respect for your boss, or dislike of a coworker... Maybe I am just paranoid, but I would rather incriminating things like that just weren't around. Hence I think its a good general rule not to record them.

But, taking the rule that strictly, you shouldn't really complain about your job in an email to your mother either. In both cases the text exists on servers beyond your control and could, under certain circumstances, fall into the wrong hands.

If, like many people I know, your employer is one of the largest email providers in the world, restricted LJ posts are probably marginally safer.

Yes, I was thinking that exact thing.

If you are in fact working for a large email provider chances are you are working for one of the less evil companies out there. Which incidentally I don't, I work for a sprawling corporate giant via various subsidiaries :)

Two points on this - firstly, email is a little different, aside from your company running checks on the content of your mail all you need to worry about is the security of your own passwords/access/etc. Whereas if a list of people have access to your LJ then any of them could forward it, print it and so forth. Not maliciously, but a lot of people forward amusing rants as a matter of course.

Secondly, believe it or not yes I would also apply that rule to work email. Certainly I would never write a rant to my mother from my work account about hating my job. I also wouldn't use that account to write to my drug dealer if I had one. I also wouldn't blog about drugs, if I took them :) In my mind the principle is the same.

I didn't realise how safe the LJ community felt that locked posts were, and I am a little surprised. But perhaps my paranoia is overkill.

In the situation I had in mind, both your and your mother's personal email accounts would be operated by your employer. (This is not a hypothetical situation for many of my friends.)

Fair point, since both mine and my mother's personal email accounts are indeed operated by the same company, it just so happens neither of us work there :)

I would not assume anyone blogging is automatically using LiveJournal :) I for example don't use it except to post to this community.

Besides which, I would still hold it to be a good general rule. You bitch about work in the pub, not in writing on a public forum. The fact that you can make it only semi-public if you remember wouldn't change my view of that.

If you want braisedbywolves to see this, you need to reply to his comment, not to the post. Just in case you care :-)

I guess that was a testament to my basic LJ ignorance. Though in my defense I was not unaware of the existence of friendslock :)

Do you know about custom friends groups? You can create your own list of who can see something. I'd still be wary of saying anything confidential in there, but it's a lot safer than saying it to the world.

I must admit I did not know. Though that does sound like quite a useful feature.

Notwithstanding my point that not everyone uses livejournal! So I think the advice is still valid.

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