Are You Writing as if Your Boss Sees Your Blog?

What would you change if you knew that your boss sees your blog and every new post you publish? I hope you already assume it happens.

I can’t guarantee you that my boss sees my blog. But I made it clear when I started at my current job that I have one.

When I write, I assume my boss (and her bosses) will see this site.

An article on The Guardian titled “A moment that changed me: my boss discovered my secret blog” is what prompted me to write this post. The article tells the story of a law firm employee who published an anonymous blog. Sure, anonymity seems safe. But in the always-dwindling days of privacy, how anonymous can any of us really be anymore?

The article is worth a read. I’m happy to report that the writer was not fired…but that story could have ended very differently.

For others, it has ended very differently.

I told my bosses upfront that I had a blog.

When I started in TV, we didn’t have social media. You can lament the changes social media unleashed on the world all you like. But I know it’s here to stay and there’s no real changing that.

As social media became more prevalent, employers began adding social media policies” to their employee handbooks. As soon as I saw a policy that seemed to indicate that employers needed to either give permission for social media accounts or be made aware, I didn’t hesitate to make them aware.

As much as I like blogging and as long as I’ve done it, if I had to choose between this blog and a steady income, well, this blog, I’m sorry to say, doesn’t make any profit. It pays no bills. In fact, it only adds to them.

You shouldn’t assume that no one will ever find your blog.

Years ago, I applied for a new job. I didn’t list my blog on my resume at all; I always keep my real job and my blog separate anyway. Despite the fact that there are writing samples here that I might feel good about, a blog just doesn’t go on a resume. (The exception to that rule would be if you apply for a blogging job.)

But they found my blog. Fortunately for me, they liked what they saw. One of the interviewers inadvertently sent me the email she also sent to the hiring manager complimenting my site. I felt flattered. But it also surprised me, since it was the first time — as far as I know — that ever happened.

Always be safe, not sorry.

If you’re going to write any type of content that might get you in trouble with your boss, you need to think twice.

In fact, if I were going to write specifically about my workplace — and I wouldn’t — with every line, I’d ask this question: “What would my boss say to that?”

If you get the impression that your boss might object to something you say, that should give you pause. It should then make you hold down the delete key until those potentially problematic words vanish from the screen.

Unless you’re willing to have your say at the cost of your job, you really don’t have a better option.

If you’re typing something and you stop to wonder if it might get you in trouble in the workplace, take that as a sign. You’re better off saying something else.

One more tip: Please don’t try to make this a “free speech” issue. There are consequences for speaking out. Depending on the laws in your state, your employer may not even need to provide a cause to terminate you. Don’t let your boss seeing something you wrote about your workplace be that cause!

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.