The Cost of Free Speech...Yeah, so I got fired because of my blog. This of course means that now I must start a new blog, in which I can complain about the loss of my last blog. It’s only logical.
Allow me to clarify. Technically speaking, I didn’t actually get fired, I was asked to resign. This of course is a load of horse@#$% and I might as well have gotten fired, since I was given no choice in the matter. You know now I'm just itching to use them as references on my resume after this whole ordeal. The only difference is that I got a severence check, which covers at least one month of rent.
I will try to make a really long story really short, both for the sake of keeping me shrouded in a cloak of anonymity, and because if I explain what happened in uber detail one more time I might shove a stapler up someone's ass. At least I would if I had one within arms reach, but I don't, because I'm unemployed and am not at a well-equipped desk.
One day I was minding my own business when the VP called me into the conference room. I automatically had a bad feeling about this special one-on-one meeting, the same sort of feeling you get in elementary school when you find out the principal wants you to pay him a visit, but I certainly did not anticipate what waited for me behind the conference room doors. Laid out in front of the VP were 2 huge folders, labeled “PART 1” and “PART 2.” I had no clue what they were for; at least I didn’t until the VP asked me to tell him/her about "insert-blog-name-here.” I'm already a pale individual folks, but I guarantee you that at that moment I must have been transparent because I think I turned 9 shades whiter than my usual tone of “pasty” as I slowly realized what was in those folders.
Did you guess my blog? If you did you get a prize, except I can’t afford to give it to you right now because I have no money. Every blog entry I had ever written for the entire year I worked at this joint was in that folder. Every single one. People automatically assume that I must have written about my place of employment. Yeah, you’re right, I did. But before you start calling me an idiot let me inform you that I never once mentioned the name of where I worked, and I never once mentioned the names of any of my coworkers either. You could tell I worked for something that was only slightly related to Congress sometimes, but that was it. The VP even acknowledged that I never wrote anything defamatory about the company.
I'm sure at this point you are wondering what it is that I wrote that caused such a ruckus. I assure you it was nothing out of the ordinary. As I mentioned before it wasn't a well-known blog, sort of just a thing my friends read once in a while, and the content covered the events of what I consider to be a typical 20-something's lifestyle. Mostly I talked about weekend plans, things I wanted to buy, boys I wanted to make out with, boys I did make out with, and the alcohol involved in such situations. Far too scandalous for the uber-conservative Bible-thumpers I worked with. Oh the shock and shame of finding out someone you employ likes to get drunk and kiss boys. Horror of horrors.
As I sat there looking at the folders that contained my thoughts and musings of the past year everything seemed quite surreal. I had heard of such things happening to others but I sort of regarded it as an Internet Urban Legend. My blog wasn't publicized and only had a small handful of readers. Despite the fact that it was after all still the internet, it all felt quite intimate. Realizing that an unknown amount of employees had pored over these posts, looking for incriminating evidence, was a rather sickening feeling. The most incriminating evidence they could find was the fact that on occasion I did blog while I was at work. This was the reason given to me to explain why I had to resign. I stepped up to the plate and I admitted that I should never have blogged on the company dime. Honestly, I never thought it was a problem because the employee handbook stated that we were allowed to use the computers for limited personal use, and everyone else in the office did so at their own discretion. I didn’t think it would be a big deal if I used my personal computer time to write in a blog every now and then when things were slow, as opposed to say, playing solitaire or shopping like some of the other employees did. I've certainly learned my lesson, but the fact that I know I was in the wrong doesn't change all the little bits of evidence that kept piling up that led me to believe that was not the real reason, but just one they gave me so I couldn't sue them for all they were worth. Well, the fact alone that the VP straight out said, "Someone called the main office and asked how we could possibly employ someone that wrote the things you were writing" comes to mind, perhaps VP needs a lesson in tact. Combining this with the fact that the Office Manager basically confirmed my suspicions as I cleaned out my desk didn’t help either.
As much as I would like to know why they felt the need to do what they did, I find it pointless to obsess about what transpired, and am forced to look to the future as my bank account grows smaller and the due date of my next rent check draws nearer. I suppose I should consider myself lucky because in the end I did get a nice severance check, but I can’t help but feel that the fat check doesn’t quite make up for the feeling of being judged based on what you wrote about your lifestyle while simply exercising your right to free speech.
I suppose I should start searching the employment section of Craigslist now...