caught red-handed

So maybe you’ve been wondering, whatever happened to BLOG WEEK?

Well, mid-post on Day 2, I got called into the boss’ office where he showed me my blog on his computer and asked if it was mine.  From that point forward I stopped comprehending what it was he was saying to me because I was so overwhelmed with embarrassment and guilt.

They had been monitoring my computer and I’m not sure if it’s because I mentioned the company by name in the post or just because I was blogging at work, but I got in trouble.

I hate getting in trouble.  It’s why I take so few risks.  And it’s the worst when you get in trouble for something that you thought was appropriate.  It’s the worst because not only do you feel guilty, you also feel ashamed for not having known any better.

And that shame has prevented me from blogging for the past 3 days.  But here I am.  Mostly recovered now.

At the time I hadn’t remembered that I had given away the name of the company, so I thought I was in trouble for blogging at work.  But in hindsight I realize it was probably mostly because I said its name–something which, when writing it, I also hadn’t realized was a no-no (but I do now and I understand why).

Given that I was originally under the impression that the problem was relegated to simply blogging, the incident stirred up that gnawing problem our society is facing.  Namely, the laws of internet.

Since I always answer the phone within one ring, and often the phone doesn’t ring for 10-20 minute periods, I can’t, in my opinion, be expected to sit and do nothing for 8 hours a day.  Therefore, why shouldn’t I do all sorts of personal things at work (barring porn*) as long as it doesn’t interfere with my performance?

Luckily, at this job no one has had a problem with my being on facebook and gmail, but I’m sure many of you are not allowed to do such things at work.  Generally speaking, I understand why.  You’re paying someone to work, not to check his/her email.  But there are times in the day when there is no work to be done.  Why not then?

My real issue, however, is with the notion of “privacy” on the internet, as highlighted in this article.  We are all aware that our Facebook profiles could affect our chances at getting a job.  The older generation thinks this is justified.  To them, anything on the internet is public.  But I don’t think my generation sees it that way.

I believe I should be judged by the self I bring to the job interview or the self as testified by former employers.  I’d be an idiot to think that a potential employer doesn’t Google me or Facebook me, but that doesn’t mean that I agree with the notion that the internet is a strong and valid basis for not hiring me.

If someone has been convicted of a crime or is a horrible racist on their online profile, then maybe.  You wouldn’t want to work alongside a rapist or a bigot.  But if I’m holding a red cup or I dress slutty at clubs, why should the employer have the right to assess that I wouldn’t be good for the position?  Am I not entitled to a non-professional domain of life?

The NY Times article describes the case of a (legal-age) girl who got kicked out of Teacher’s College for posting a picture of herself dressed up like a pirate, holding a cup.  The caption read “drunk pirate.” The administration expelled her on the grounds that she would be a bad example for her under-age students.**

Back when I dreamed of being famous, I feared for a future when some random picture of me surfaced and humiliated me.  I can only assume though, that by the time I’m 50, EVERYONE will have random incriminating pictures, and, unless the image is egregious, no one will give a shit.  As much as I think my wannabe politician friends should tread carefully, I would imagine that it would only jeopardize their careers if they did something horribly illegal, and at that point, you wouldn’t want them in government anyway.

The author, Jeffrey Rosen, argues that we need to learn to accept that everyone has different selves.  We shouldn’t be jolted by the fact that Work Ariela acts differently when she’s around her friends.  As my generation replaces the one above it, I hope we’ll be more understanding of people’s rights to a personal life, even though that life may be shared on the internet, a “public” domain.  Our attitude is that, despite being public, it’s still way to express your private self…and we’re reconciling how those two things work together.


*And the porn issue is really just cause it isn’t acceptable to watch porn in public, let alone at work.

**By the way, after reading the article, I became so paranoid that I went to my Facebook profile to double-check my security settings.

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