Wednesday, January 12, 2005

hard to sum up

Hopefully you'll understand and apreciate that this post might be a bit difficult and awkward. A bookseller at Waterstones was recently sacked because of his blog. If you're based in the Uk then you've probably heard about it. I work at a bookshop and I have a blog. As far as I'm aware I've never mentioned the name of the shop I work for but I can't imagine it's too hard to figure it out if you wanted to. I have on occassion wrote about crap days at work. The bookseller was sacked because he wrote about crap days at work. I've never read the blog in question and am only going from what I've seen in the Guardian (which also contains samples from the blog) but it does seem that the guy never actually slandered Waterstones, made libelous comments or revealed any practices sales figures or anything of a confidential nature. What he was was critical about the people and things that made his day crappy, occassionally resorting to namecalling. I sound like I'm defending the guy, but one of the reasons I don't mention my employer by name is because it's a whole can of worms I really don't want to risk opening. Being able to speak your mind is important, it's a fundamental right really, but the... let's call it 'freedom of speech' seems to me to require a degree of personal responsibility. Also Waterstones has a freedom to respond.
What I'm saying is that for me there's a grey area of is the guy in the right or in the wrong. There's also my own personal grey area of having a blog and working in a bookshop and not always being happy at work.
What isn't a grey area is the degree of response. Sacking with out warning for something that doesn't seem to be cut and dried seems dodgy to say the least. It's harsh and it opens it's own can of worms. I don't think this is over.

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