Monday, November 2, 2009

Freedom of the Blog

According to Wikipedia, Thomas Jefferson thoughts on the press were as follows:
...An active press was essential as a way of educating the population. To work freely, the press must be free from control by the state. Jefferson was a person who himself suffered great calumnies of the press. Despite this, in his second inaugural address, he proclaimed that a government that could not stand up under criticism deserved to fall. (emphasis mine)
Why is this important?

Well, I've had a lot (too much?) time to think lately.

...a government that could not stand up under criticism deserved to fall.

What if you replaced "government" with "business"?

Yes, they are different. When working for a business you do not have the same rights as you do within the government (speaking of United States here). There are confidentiality rules (hopefully). Trade secrets. Etc. Those things apply when you are working at a company.

What about post-employment though?

Of course if you are under some sort of non-disclosure agreement (NDA), you can't publicly talk about your former company.

There's also the small matter of burning bridges. I never quite understood this concept. Maybe I just haven't worked long enough. I understand that you don't want to piss off someone who, in the future, will be in a position to hire you. What if you don't care? What if you would never, ever work for that person or business again? Where's the bridge? Why not burn it? You certainly don't want to travel across it again.

Oh wait, future employers. That's not technically burning a bridge though is it?

Future employers would/might see it as a bad thing. You know, if you burned one bridge, you'll burn more. I understand that...generally speaking.

...a business that could not stand up under criticism deserved to fall.

I don't necessarily believe a business should fail. Blogging about them though would let others know what it's like to work there. A warning of sorts.

Also, how would you determine who is telling the truth and who isn't? I could be a lazy, disgruntled ex-employee with an axe to grind. How to separate the wheat from the chaff?

Maybe that's where Jake's reputation stuff comes in...(it's not really his of course, which I'm sure he'll remind me of).

4 comments:

Gary Myers said...

At school I had a teacher. When asked by a student whether they HAD to do something (like homework), he answered "The only thing you have to do is eat, drink and breathe. With anything else you have to live with consequences."
I think that applies to lots of things, including what you say in a blog or to someones face. Best option is to have a mate you can trust where you can whinge about work or your boss, knowing it won't go any further.
Now I've got to get back to a database with dates stored as VARCHAR2.

oraclenerd said...

"consequences"

I hear you.

Just seems awfully one-sided to me. That's the part I do not like.

I like that saying too. I heard one in a movie, "Can't lives on won't street" not really the same but i liked it.

PLSQL Mike said...

It all boils down to identity.
Sure, you should listen to what as many people as possible have to say on the subject.
Gary suggests a route I'd call safe, and traditional and commonly advised.
There's a good chance there's a reason it's commonly advised and there's a good chance that reason is a good one.
So we should heed it.
But "heeding" it, to me, doesn't imply being absolutely enslaved to it.
I mean, there's always room for an individual interpretation and even more importantly, application.
Some people who always take the safe route end up prosperous, long-lived, prolific and accomplished.
Some shoot-from-the-hip, ready-fire-aim types end up there as well.
Statistically I think probably the former has a better chance of all those things we strive for, but ultimately we're not statistics, we're individuals.
In the end, I say consider every idea you hear seriously and then go with your gut.
The combination of the two, like a chemistry experiment, is our own healthy identity.
Take away one, and we're either a stodgy old bore, robotic-like in our thoughts and actions in the one case or an out-of-control cannon, firing randomly in all directions while sliding from one side of the ship to the other according to the whims of our environment accomplishing nothing and damaging a lot of things.

oraclenerd said...

@mike

You really need to start blogging. There's an open spot here...

I tend to fall into your second category there, the "bull in a china shop" version. at least I believe that is how it appears, especially when compared with the "safe" types.

I think it can be done (the so-called nuclear option) with class. Not sure I'm ready to go down that path yet though. Ultimately I'll have to figure that out.