Thursday, November 06, 2003

WARNING, blogging may be hazardous to you wallet!

I blog surf alot, sometimes I even put my two cents in if there's a comment tool. Today I'll go a step further. Last night while skimming my Good Eggs list I happened upon a post about a post.

This is the story of Eclecticism and The Blogger Who Got The Sack.

Of blogging and unemployment
October 27, 2003 @ 03:08 PM | Life

The day started like any other day — get up, dink around for a bit, bus into work, and start working through the stack of jobs. Just shy of an hour after I got in, my manager came in and asked me to step into his office when I had a chance. Sure, no biggie, and I headed over as soon as I finished the job I was setting up.

"Okay, here's the first question. Is this page," and here he turned his monitor towards me, letting me see my "Even Microsoft wants G5s" post from last Thursday, "hosted on any Microsoft computer? Or is it on your own?"

"It's on mine. Well, it's on a hosted site that I pay for, but no, it's not on anything of Microsoft's."

"Good. That means that as it's your site on your own server, you have the right to say anything you want. Unfortunately, Microsoft has the right to decide that because of what you said, you're no longer welcome on the Microsoft campus."

And that simply, as of about 2pm today, I once again joined the ranks of the unemployed.

It seems that my post is seen by Microsoft Security as being a security violation. The picture itself might have been permissible, but because I also mentioned that I worked at the MSCopy print shop, and which building it was in, it pushed me over the line. Merely removing the post was also not an option — I offered, and my manager said that he had asked the same thing — but the only option afforded me was to collect any personal belongings I had at my workstation and be escorted out the door. They were at least kind enough to let me be escorted out by one of my co-workers, rather than sending security over to usher me out, but the end result is the same.

More frustrating for me is that, having read stories here and there on the 'net about people who had for one reason or another lost their jobs due to something on their weblogs, I thought that I had done what I could to avoid that possibility. To my mind, it's an innocuous post. The presence of Macs on the Microsoft campus isn't a secret (for everything from graphic design work to the Mac Business Unit), and when I took the picture, I made sure to stand with my back to the building so that nothing other than the computers and the truck would be shown — no building features, no security measures, and no Microsoft personnel. However, it obviously wasn't enough.

So, I'm unemployed. I am somewhat lucky in that I'm not technically unemployed — I am still on the roster for my temp agency, who has been very good to me so far (and hopefully will continue to be), but as their ability to place me anywhere does depend on the current job market, it's not a foolproof guarantee of employment coming in quickly. I've put a call into them and let them know of the situation and that I'm available and willing for whatever can be found, so with any luck, they'll be able to find a placement for me. However, it appears that it's also time for me to start hitting the streets and shopping my resume around again.

Wish me luck.


A couple of observations

What was it about Hanscom's predicament that sent me into full IMPOTENT GODDESS MODE? Was it Microsoft Security's seemingly vindictive streak? No, having experienced first hand the perils of expressing an opinion, I'm way too cynical for that to phase me. Perhaps it was the irrationality of the firing? After all, even the American judicial system feebly strives for a holistic view of alledged infractions. There was no malicious intent on the perp's part and no apparent harm was inflicted. Nope not that either. What left me fuming incoherently was the rank stupidity exhibited by Gate's bouncers. How, in the name of all that is sane, did they conclude that ignoring Hanscom's offer to remove the offending pic and giving him the boot was in Microsoft's best interest. Thanks to their knee jerk response to a minor employee disciplinary matter the said snap shot has reached the far corners of the web and Hanscom's story has generated even more antipathy for Microsoft.

IMPOTENT GODDESS MODE generally doesn't get me very far. Notice my own tenuous position. However, while I can't do a darned thing about my own version of 'The Man' I can suggest a few ways to help Hanscom over his career pothole. Kind wishes are awefully nice but you should know me better than that by now. We require tangible evidence of your outrage and humanity. So, you can buy something from his CafePress Shop; throw some cash at his PayPay Account; or the piece de résistance, offer him a job.

Other suggested courses of action, email the pictoral irritant to ten of your most militaristic friends; and/or, grab fistfuls of hair, shirt, whatever and scream 'Oh the humanity!'.

5 Ninjas, 1 Kitten and a Fifth of Vodka!