Tuesday, September 22, 2009

About blogging about work

I realise of course that I shouldn't talk about work (and I'm not going to make a habit of it) because there's a spate recently of people getting victimised because they have blogged about their jobs and some turd has found it necessary to hunt them down. I am only a casual at the paper and if some humourless toad was to get upset that I laugh at their story, their headline, their column, I could pay a price for that. (And I'm sorry to say, there is no shortage of humourless toads in this country. I am sure there are funloving great people too, but they don't live around here.)

I noticed that earlier today someone had searched for the "Institute of Public Affairs" and a post I'd made about the paper had come up at the top of the search (the blogs are not ranked on how interesting or funny they are, sadly, but on how recently they have excoriated the clowns at the IPA). I don't know whether it was someone curious what's being said about that particular "thinktank" (most likely given the provenance of the hits) or someone from the thinktank itself, checking to see whether there is something they can get outraged about (because, after all, that's what rightards do: get outraged about basically nothing so that they can get up a head of steam that will allow them to make other people's lives just a tad more shitty so they can feel good about themselves). And I'm pretty easily identifiable from the post -- my name is in the system on the story. It's not by any means the first time that I've written something about my work that could backfire on me though. It's just one of those things bloggers have to accept is a possibility if they ever say anything about their work -- and how can you not if you blog about your life?

There are already five or six people I wouldn't like to read this blog (I won't say who they are but it's reasonably obvious), and the only reason I don't cover my tracks more carefully is that it's so unlikely they'll find it, or realise who I am from whatever brief contact they do make with it.

But I also have a self-destructive urge that makes me prize brazenness over caution.

I am nervous though when I see Australian IPs, particularly if they come back for repeated visits. If I had my way, Australian residents would oblige me by emailing or commenting to let me know who they are (and I thank Our man in Canberra for doing precisely that). Actually, if I truly had my way, I'd exclude Australians, bar one, from reading it. They're not going to like it anyway. I never watch terrestrial telly, so I don't have opinions about MasterChef or Rover, or whatever, and I don't care for the sports. So that's culture out, and the politics is grindingly boring. The Liberals make the Tories look like moderates, and Labor out-New Labours New Labour. Both are collections of tedious managerialists who would bore your average accountant to sleep.

So anyway, I can't live in fear, and I don't. I write whatever I want to and I'm not going to stop, within the limits that I already have (and yes, I do have limits; I know it's hard to believe). But whining about how bad the Courier-Mail is would soon get tedious (even more tedious than the usual content) because once you've said it's a provincial newspaper that focuses on the concerns of the right-leaning middle class, most readers have formed an impression that will be wholly accurate. And I have other things to write about: so let's do that.

UPDATE: So I was right. The woman in question, Julie Novak, is a humourless toad. Instead of writing to me to say that she was upset about what I had written for my five readers, she got me sacked.

I was really content with my job. I don't like the politics of the newspaper, but I'm a professional and I did a professional job there. But they are cowards, I'm afraid. The woman didn't like what I wrote, rang up and demanded I got sacked, and I got sacked. Now I will really struggle to feed my children because I said Julie Novak wrote screeching rubbish. Which she did.


At 1:52 pm, Blogger Arleen said...

What a vindictive bitch! Good grief, she obviously needs a life if she has nothing better to do than run tattling because she can't stand a bit of honest criticism.

I know companies do stuff like this as though they're protecting their reputations, but this is just overkill.

Ha! What do you want to bet she's the kind of person who googles her name to see if people are talking about her? How else could anyone from the paper have come across your post?

At 1:55 pm, Blogger Dr Zen said...

Thanks for your comment, Arleen. I think someone actually googled the institution's name.

What can you do? This slug clearly thinks that it's such an outrage that some guy who has a readership of, tops, five should say she wrote a rubbish column that his children should suffer for it. I don't know what kind of person does that but I do know it's our misfortune to have to share the planet with some ugly people.

At 7:41 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sacked for little more than a thought crime

At 7:04 am, Blogger wrinklefreedom said...

Dr Zen, clearly you can write. And clearly you are uncomfortable with working at QNP. I have done the same thing you did .... stayed on to feed my children ... but believe me, in the long run your children suffer from your unhappiness. Instead of using your obvious skills trying to circumvent mainstream media from the perceived, but as you have found out unreal, anonymity of cyberspace, how about finding another way of earning your living, and work safely from outside the Murdoch media to consign it and its scions to irrelevancy? Yours in solidarity, a former Murdoch lacky.

At 10:30 am, Blogger Dr Zen said...

I didn't mind working there too much. As I noted in another post, I'm not really fussy what work I do. And I don't think I really want to subvert QNP! If you got rid of Murdoch, there'd only be another Murdoch in his place. That's how newspapers are now, if they were ever anything different. If I could earn a living doing something else though, I probably would, but there's nothing else I can do. The demands of a young family just don't permit taking time out to "find yourself" or a new career path. I do my best not to allow my children to know I am unhappy, although they do see me fighting with Mrs Zen sometimes and it upsets them.

I appreciate your comment though. It's very kind of you to stop by and try to be helpful.

At 1:20 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hope you find a new gig. you have to pity the Right, it's going to be long time in the wilderness this time, they're obviously touchy about that...!

best wishes


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