Blogger Fired for Actually Having a Life…

I’ve had a blog for a long time, and many times over the past 6 years I have had to stop and think about what I write about on this blog. Sometimes, it seems like people don’t really think about it though. Because once again, a blogger has been fired because of her blog. Their reason when they fired her? “I am not the kind of person they want to associate themselves with.”

Yes. It CAN happen to you.

I feel bad saying she was fired “because” of her blog, because really, she was fired because of what she chose to write on her blog. Along with what she wrote on her MySpace site. It always amazes me though – Dooce was fired about 5 years ago, and yet people can’t learn from her mistakes.

Sure, if you blog mainly about what you knit, you shouldn’t really run into a problem. Unfortunately, I can’t see exactly what Jessa Jeffries blogged about, because her blogspot site now doesn’t have any posts on it. You can read a lot of juicy quotes over at Thought Mechanics though. But if you need better quotes, then look at these Inspirational Quotes about life. Lets take a moment and look at some of these things that she wrote:

“In my blog I refference work, I took pictures at work – which is allowed – in fact bosses and co-works did the taking. I posted those pictures and wrote about my days at work.”

People. Seriously. Don’t write about work. Especially anything negative about work. Don’t post photographs from your job, at least not anything that can be identified. There just is no need for it. I realize that work makes up like 90% of the time you are awake, but still. Do. Not. Write. About. Work.

“My Geology classroom tonight was in the Serengeti. This is where I discovered the Rubies had been stolen. I decided against making an announcment to all the troop leaders. I invisioned a massive backpack search that would no doubt end in tears for the little scout who swiped the stones – not realizing thier worth. I just stuck a peice of garnet in it’s place and hoped no one would be the wiser.”

Great. So she has taught some child that it is ok to steal, and that they will get away with it. “Not realizing thier (sic) worth” implies that they were, in fact, worth something. If so, stealing is wrong. Even if some kid is going to end up in tears, it is better than letting them think that it is ok. What they did was wrong, and they need to learn that lesson. Also, not too brilliant to tell your employers (via your blog) that you let someone steal.

“I was fired because of the way I represented myself on the internet. I made it public knowledge that I worked at the Academy even though I never specified which one it was – I did have pictures of me wearing my work shirt.”

You know what? Most employers do care about how you represent yourself in public. Some employers will fire people over it. Whatever you do in your own home is done in private, but you make it public when you put it on the Internet. I’m not saying that no one should have a blog, because I do not feel that way. But if you blog from the office, be forewarned that they can and probably will get pissy about it. (Yes, I have been there.) If you talk about politics and you work somewhere that might just hold that against you – like when I worked at a very small law firm – you might want to think twice before you put it in writing. Matter of fact, just think about it before you type anything – make your words delicious, because you might just be forced to eat them someday.

“They told me that if I didn’t comply that they would send my archived blog to the Aquarium where I also work, and if I ever listed them as a reference they would forward the content to any future employeers.”

Now I have an issue with that part about forwarding the content to future employers. That is a bit over the top – especially since I have always been told that according to federal labor laws, the most they can do is confirm dates of employment and verify a salary. They are not allowed to say things like, “she sucked” or “let me tell you what she blogged about” when called for an employment reference. Now if you put them down as a personal reference, that is a completely different situation. As for the Aquarium, who knows – maybe they can do that. I don’t know.

If you don’t want your words to come back to you someday, think about it before you write about it. It is simply the smartest thing to do. Learn from the bloggers that have come before you.

UPDATE: Thanks to Blogebrity, I found the cached copy of her site (oh yes, your words can follow you even after you take them offline), and she seems to have been wiser about the whole thing in the end.

“this blog is still being deconstructed. i made my bed, i’ll lie in it.”


“a little more anoniminty can’t hurt anyone. life lesson # 567 learned.”

Now let them be life lessons for you too.

On a side note, “the NBA fined Mavericks owner Mark Cuban $200,000 for going onto the court after Game 1 of Dallas’ series against the Spurs and criticizing league officials on his blog.” A $200,000 fine. In part, for what he wrote on his blog. See? It really CAN happen to anyone.

By Christine

Christine is an Avenger of Sexiness. Her Superpower is helping Hot Mamas grow their Confidence by rediscovering their Beauty. She lives in the Heights in Houston, Texas, works as a boudoir photographer, and writes about running a Business of Awesome. In her spare time, she loves to knit, especially when she travels. She & her husband Mike have a food blog at Spoon & Knife.

14 replies on “Blogger Fired for Actually Having a Life…”

Ugh. I rarely post about my job in public because of what happened to me 4 years ago. The post I made a couple of weeks ago was the exception to my rule–I figured it was general enough in it’s whining that it was okay blog fodder. But I thought long and hard about it before I pressed “post”. Because you never know what’s going to come around and bite you on the ass; the post that started everything for me said something like, “This thing I’ve been asked to do sounds weird and hinky, I wish the big boss were here for me to talk to.”

I’ve a few pictures of my desk on my Flickr account, but one set of them is friends only and the others, I made sure that there wasn’t any proprietary information on my desk and that the Behemoth’s logo wasn’t visible.

I was talking to some one I know who has a hand in the hiring of new fire fighters in my county and we were talking about MySpace. She told me that there is a guy who will not be getting hired because of what he has up on his MySpace page. She has seen both of MySpace pages and told me that what I have on mine is perfectly acceptable. On one page, I have some photos of me in gear and some of our fires along with a few smart alek comments. But I always try to make sure that my comments and images reflect positively on the fire service. But some people never learn.

she actually made an appearance on MetaFilter to explain her situation. i have to say it sucks to get fired for your blog, but then again, what did she expect? you have to be smarter than that these days. at most i’ll make vague references to work, but never any names, and i blog with full disclosure – my boss reads my blog! haha.

Until about a year ago I worked at this place for years and I had nothing but great experiences. Actually, it sounds like she had my old job. We have had many individuals and characters work there, so I can tell you they where not ‘into’ forcing people to conform, or down on personal freedoms.

I never met Jess, but I can only guess she really made someone mad and they needed and excuse, or what she said was really extreme. I really can’t imagine this place being like she claims.

It’s unfortunate that this person made some unwise blogging choices, but the pic of her apparently attempting to “goatse” the Crocodile Hunter is pretty funny! Luckily I work for myself; even though I don’t work someplace as easy to pinpoint with a minium of information as she did, I still avoid revealing my real and/or full name and my geographical location, and got privacy added to my domain name for added measure. There’s still a chance someone could connect me to my portfolio site but the risk is pretty small.

As for legalities, I don’t know about Philly, but Texas laws are set up so that you can fire someone for no reason at all – just because you feel like it. You may or may not get unemployment compensation when you get fired, depending on their ultimate reason for it.

The metafilter thread is a pretty interesting read.

not making excuses for myself here but in the end it came down to admiting where i work online and having bad language and inapropriate pictures up.

i wasnt the kind of girl they wanted to associate themselves with end of story.

meh – it happens.

My new company told me that one of the developers actually goggles everyone that has a resume that comes across his desk. I knew that meant my blog had a chance of being called up on his search, but I also knew that the few times I did post of my past job, was all in positive words. It still reminded me that I’m not all invisible like I want to be sometimes.

[…] Big Pink Cookie wrote an entry pointing to an entry on another blog about a girl working two jobs, who blogged probably without much thought to her employer reading it…. Wrote about work intersparced between drunken pictures, opinionated rants, so on and so forth…. Not terribly unusual content for a blog… She was fired and her former employer threatened to send a printed copy of her blog to her other employer if she did not take her blog off the Internet. […]

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