Tuesday, January 18, 2005


From the Guardian:

Blogger sacked for sounding off

Waterstone's says bookseller brought firm into disrepute

Patrick Barkham
Wednesday January
12, 2005

A bookseller has become the first blogger in Britain to be sacked from his job because he kept an online diary in which he occasionally mentioned bad days at work and satirised his "sandal-wearing" boss.

Joe Gordon, 37, worked for Waterstone's in Edinburgh for 11 years but says he was dismissed without warning for "gross misconduct" and "bringing the company into disrepute" through the comments he posted on his

[. . .]

"This wasn't a sustained attack," Mr Gordon told the Guardian. "I was not deliberately trying to harm the company. I was venting my spleen.

"This was moaning about not getting your birthday off or not getting on with your boss. I wasn't libelling anyone or giving away trade secrets."

In the past two months, the bookseller, who helped set up a branch of Waterstone's, ran bookclubs and appeared on radio and TV for his company, mentioned his work twice. On one occasion, he ranted about his "sandal-wearing" manager he nicknamed "Evil Boss", which he said was a caricature like the "Pointy Haired Boss" in the Dilbert cartoons. In another posting, Mr Gordon joked about "Bastardstone's".

[. . .]

"We are hopeful we can get him reinstated," said David Pickles, president of the [Retail Books Association]. "We feel it was heavy-handed and they have overreacted. The company has no guidelines to say 'please don't' [write about work on a weblog]. They shouldn't use a hammer to crack a nut.

[. . .]

"As long as there is no one being discriminating or offensive, if it is just fun and opinion, then I can't see it being a problem. It's just how he felt on the day."

Click here to read the whole article.

Poor guy. There are plenty worse things that can happen to a person than getting fired from his retail job, though. Like, say, cuddling with a kitten. Or being handed a briefcase full of cash and pornography. I could go on.

I sat around for most of the evening laughing about the whole thing, mostly because the comments that got him fired are among the tamer things I've ever heard in my life. "Evil boss." Ha. I love it.

The guy mentions work twice in passing on his website and drops insults that are the schoolyard equivalent of "dummyhead" and managed to get fired for it. I, however, run a stupid website entirely devoted to the moral, emotional, and spiritual demise of my employers, and make a conscious effort to be as juvenile and offensive as possible in every post. The only consequences for my actions thus far, though, are the massive amounts of celebrity and free corporate perks that have fallen into my lap.

I also wish that I had "trade secrets" to give away, but the rampant sodomy and forced cannibalism at the Strand are hardly secret anymore. It's more like a signing bonus.

Thanks to whomever forwarded the article.


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