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October 30th, 2003

Post a Photo, Get Fired

I was somewhat surprised to see a story on Slashdot about a Microsoft employee getting the axe for posting a photo on his blog. In this photo, a truck was delivering a number of Power Mac G5s to the company – as you can see here.

That day, he was fired.

It seems like the photo wasn’t well received, but more importantly he revealed where he worked on the Microsoft campus. This is his own blog, on his own webspace that he pays for. But the reaction as seen in the entry’s comments seems to be very supportive and sympathetic, making Microsoft out to be the real bad guy.

I can’t say I agree. This doesn’t feel like the time when dooce was fired. I’m not a fan of Microsoft, but this is one of those low-level business standards. This fellow posted confidential information on his personal site – which is a no-no. I sympathize with people saying, “Post anything on your blog! Go ahead!” but one must realize that there might be consequences to deal with; you can’t shuck responsibility just because it’s online.

That said, I do think that’s a sucky way to get fired.

Posted in Miscellaneous

FROM: cd-rw
DATE: Thursday October 30, 2003 -- 12:51:30 am
ya gotta be a maroon to post anything on the web even remotely making fun of microsoft if you work for them. even though MS is the anti-christ, they were in the bounds of reason to fire that guy.

FROM: elwood
DATE: Thursday October 30, 2003 -- 12:55:29 am
This doesn't feel like the time when dooce was fired.

what does that dooce link have to do with anything? just wondering.

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday October 30, 2003 -- 7:56:57 am
Elwood -- Dooce was a blogger that was fired for having a blog and writing about work (non-confidential type stuff). Her story used to be on her site, but I don't believe it is any more...

FROM: Kate
DATE: Thursday October 30, 2003 -- 9:12:29 am
Maybe I'm just slow, but why does Microsoft care about the picture? Is there some rule about people finding out where you work?

FROM: Tina
DATE: Thursday October 30, 2003 -- 9:18:46 am
I can't access that link (darn work censors!!), but in cache it looks hilarious. Where do you find all these funny blogs? I can't thank you guys enough for, even though that one's off the air until further notice....sniff...Matt, we hardly knew ye! :)

FROM: jk
DATE: Thursday October 30, 2003 -- 9:20:31 am
kate--I know that in my company, you have to sign a statement of non-disclosure. I can't appear on the TV news talking about the economy, nor can I be quoted in a newspaper, etc. I completely believe that something like this can happen....

FROM: Paul
DATE: Thursday October 30, 2003 -- 9:44:31 am
Kate, as jk said, I think it's a matter of a non-disclosure statement. That said, MS could easily consider this picture confidential (it shows a shipment, for instance, that they didn't make public) or, moreso, they could consider the disclosure of what building he works in even more confidential.

And yeah, I tried to find dooce's original story - sorry, folks.

FROM: Chris [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday October 30, 2003 -- 10:16:49 am
I fond the I lost my job thread

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Thursday October 30, 2003 -- 11:04:30 am
Good job, Chris! :)

This particular matter's kind of touchy... in general, I think people need to be *very* careful about discussing work on a personal blog. I've always tried to keep things very separate. It's common sense.

At the same time, it's hard to know whether Microsoft was specific about this type of thing. After all, it doesn't sound like they asked him to remove the post, even after they let him go. It seems that some sort of disciplinary action was appropriate, but perhaps the firing was a bit extreme. I don't know... kind of hard to tell without hearing M$'s side of the story.

FROM: Chris
DATE: Thursday October 30, 2003 -- 11:50:46 am
I think MS went overboard and made an example of him *because* he wasn't an employee. Much easier to do it that way. Some tech analyst got canned recently for slamming MS security - I guess his firm did not want to jepordize future MS business with the truth.

This type of thing will become more and more common as corporate america continues to merge into mega corporations.

FROM: Tito
DATE: Thursday October 30, 2003 -- 3:19:53 pm
I work for a company I respect and would not post anything that makes them look foolish. Perhaps this guy has a track record of making disparaging (sp?) remarks about microsoft and this was their one legal chance of firing the guy.

FROM: Matt
DATE: Thursday October 30, 2003 -- 7:45:13 pm
What's the problem here? what did he do wrong? Looks to me that he posted a little photo of a delivery to his work, are there rules against that?

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday October 30, 2003 -- 10:06:55 pm
Matt -- I think the issue is that he posted a picture of a delivery and mentioned specifically where he worked, etc... for a company like Microsoft, this could be considered a security issue, though more likely it's breaks some sort of non-disclosure agreement he signed.

Ah, the joys of corporate life.

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