Blogging is lots of fununtil your boss finds out
By Jennifer Wutz-Lopes
Blogging is now established as a great way for people to keep their friends and families in the know about what is going on in their livestheir accomplishments, kids, hobbies, and work. Of course, talking about work will oftentimes turn into complaining about work, and a growing number of bloggers have gotten themselves into trouble for being just a bit too critical about their jobs.
With the rise of blogging over the last several years, this wonderful outlet to rant and rave in a public forum often includes gripes about employers, co-workers, or the workplace in general. In most cases, the blogger is never caught or reprimanded, but there have been some instances of blogging-related firings in the United States and other countries that have recently gained attention in the news.
Ellen Simonetti, AKA Queen of Sky (queenofsky.journalspace.com), was just your everyday flight attendant until October 2004 when she was fired from Delta Air Lines after an eight-year career. Apparently, she had been blogging anonymously about her job for several months but was identified after she posted some leggy photos of herself in uniform, on a plane. Ellen never disclosed her name or employer, but the pictures were deemed “inappropriate” and she was canned. Ellen has maintained her blog ever since, mostly posting photos of herself (in tank tops and bikinis,) and raving about bloggers’ rights, but there is a happy ending for her. Diary of a Dysfunctional Flight Attendant: The Queen of Sky Blog is currently on sale for $24.95. There may also be a movie in the works.
Another blog-to-book success story involves Catherine Sanderson, a British secretary, who was fired for her Bridget Jones-esque ramblings about her work at an accounting firm in Paris. Catherine blogs as La Petite Anglaise (petiteanglaise.com) and has continued to blog since her job loss last July. She is currently suing her ex-employers for the equivalent of two years’ salary, payment for what her lawyer calls “wrongful termination.” She won’t need the money, though, as she was recently offered a six-figure book deal for her memoirs based on her blog.
Most sacked bloggers aren’t making money for their stories, though. Take for example Michael Gee, who was axed last summer because of incredibly idiotic comments on his blog. Hired to teach a journalism class at Boston University, Gee identified the class, the school, and detailed his lust for one of his students: a hot babe with a “bitchin’ bod.” The post had been online for only a short time before he was relieved of his part-time gig at BU. Michael’s blog, Homegame, can be found on-line at jmgee.blogspot.com. I don’t think he has a book deal. Yet.
Some bloggers have been able to keep their anonymity online while grumping about their jobs. After browsing through several of these blogsmostly written by wait staff from the food service industryI can safely say that I will always be very nice to my waiter or waitress. It’s always a good idea to tip well and order off the menu (no substitutions!), but check out some of these blogs and you’ll see why it really matters.
Waiterrant (waiterrant.net) is run by an unnamed waiter working at “The Bistro” (somewhere in New York City) who kvetches about serving decaf coffee, despises people chatting on mobile phones while dining out, and offers advice on “how to order wine without looking like an a-hole.” Another anonymous blogger authors Naked Women and Beer (stripclubserver.blogspot.com) and you can probably guess what she does for a living. She’s a full-time student somewhere in the south, who works the weekend shift waiting tables and bartending at a strip club. She doesn’t like customers touching her and she’ll give them hell if they do. And then she’ll blog about it.
My favorite blog of this type is Red Lobster Blog (rlserver.blogspot.com), authored by “Lobster Boy.” Lobster Boy has worked for Red Lobster for seven years and has lots of stories to tell about his customers, why he’ll never be a manager, how he copes with customers on Fridays during Lent, and the hell-on-earth that is the seasonal Endless Shrimp promotion.
So, is blogging just a lot of harmless fun or a career killer? It can certainly go both ways. While most companies do not have policies in place related to their employees’ blogging, some are being forced to deal with the phenomenon. A friend’s husband recently had a job interview here in Buffalo, and besides the expected questions on his background and experience, he was asked if he has a blog. I expect that this will become more common as time goes on.
I have a job. I also have a blog. I never mix the two. And if my boss happens to be reading this, I just want to say that you are really just the best boss ever.
Jennifer Wutz-Lopes is still waiting to get a book deal based on her blog. Check it out at Jen14221.com.
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