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Friday, July 22, 2005

I've been interviewed by two media outlets in two days - yesterday by the Patriot News as a new core company member of Gamut (I think the Leviathant + Mormolyke NINternet love story is going to get another airing in the press) and this morning by the Central Penn Business Journal as an employee who blogs.

The latter interview took quite an interesting tack, and brought up a question which is more difficult the more I think about it. I understand that employers should fire bloggers who reveal confidential information or, for example, post pictures of themselves acting inappropriately on the job -- but should employers fire bloggers who simply complain about their job or their boss online?

As I see it, as "good bosses," they shouldn't. Most realistic employers realize that employees will complain about their job at the water cooler, to their friends and family, or in IRC and on online messageboards every day. A boss with an interest in good employee relations should have a desire to know their employees' concerns, even if highly negative, and upon learning of them, would seek to talk to the employee and resolve them in some way. If the problems cannot be resolved, then maybe firing is in order. But I don't think bosses should sack someone just for venting on a blog.

The more I think about this, though, the more I realize that this is an idealistic way of looking at the issue, and that this rarely, if ever, happens in the real world. Most bosses truly worth complaining about on a blog (take my bosses at Kauffman Peters in 1998, for example) would fire first and not even consider asking questions.

I did mention to the reporter the caveat that bloggers must be responsible for their words and realize that blogs are public and able to be viewed by anyone and everyone. If I include someone's full name in a blog entry, I'll get hits from search strings of that name pretty soon afterwards. Everyone does Google ego searches these days, and if you write about someone or a company, they'll find your words eventually. If you do happen to get fired because of something you wrote, it's your own fault, and although I might not agree with the action taken, employers have the right to fire at will.

Not very comforting, is it?
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