Just lately, there have been several instances on Facebook where bloggers have questioned whether it is wise to blog about your job.
My answer to this is a categorical NO.
I have also come across instances where an employer has caught a blogger writing sponsored posts for a competitor and demanded that the posts be removed.
Cue much "how very dare they" in tones which imply the Human Rights Act should be referred to immediately.
An Employment Contract Is Legally Binding
I am beginning to wonder whether people understand that an employment contract is, well a contract - and a legally binding one at that.
When you agree to work for a company, you agree to abide by a set of rules (theirs) in exchange for pay and benefits.
The company has a duty of care towards its employees to treat them fairly and equitably. But, you know what? It's a two way street.
I've read posts which seem to imply that the blogger / employee is actually doing the employer a favour just by turning up.
You cannot justify criticizing your employer on your blog because you hate the job, they don't pay you enough or you haven't been promoted.
That will get you out of the door quicker than you'd like.
Nobody Is Irreplaceable
And if you feel that you're irreplaceable - well, have you seen the UK unemployment figures lately?
I don't mean to be harsh.
I think if you work with your employer, blogging can be an extremely valuable addition to the marketing mix.
But I think we need a reality check here.
Employers DO Check You Out On Social Media
Employers and recruitment agencies will check you out on social media. Yes they will - whether or not they are supposed to.
If you let it be known that you write a blog in your spare time, it is just human nature for your co-workers to want to check it out.
If you have written anything negative, it is also, sadly, human nature for some 'helpful' co-worker to bring it to the attention of the management.
And if you are being negative, therefore, future employers might take a dim view - particularly if you are staying in the same industry.
In Law, where I worked for 13 years, most of the partners had worked in numerous other law firms and all knew each other.
Until you reach a certain age, you don't always have the political 'smarts' either.
Let me give you an example of what I mean.
Let's say there's a particular manager you just can't get on with. They seem to have it in for you. You get the crappiest assignments. Your suggestions are routinely ignored in meetings.
It would be very easy to vent your spleen in a blog post and think that you were fully justified in doing so - heck, you could even convince yourself that you are being a noble "whistleblower" and bringing the manager to book.
You Never Know Who Is Friends With Whom
What you probably don't realise is that, even if that manager seems to be deeply unpopular, they may be best buddies with the rest of the managers, or even the CEO.
I remember a couple of senior partners in one of the law firms I worked for who, on the face of it, hated each other.
It later transpired that not only did they regularly dine together, they even went on holiday together.
The same thing with college lecturers. You never know what goes on in the staff room, or what is said and I think there is a tendency for senior staff to stick together to protect each other's positions.
So, after another downbeat, unmotivating, dreary day, it would be so easy to come home and blog about it, wouldn't it?
Anything you write is on the internet for ever. Things you say now could bite you years later.
I'm assuming you've worked long and hard to get where you are.
You've probably fought off lots of competition to get your foot in the door.
But you signed a contract.
The honorable thing to do if you hate it, is find another job.
Yes it's difficult - but that's rather my point.
The RIGHT Way To Blog About Your Job
If you want to blog about your job, why not undertake some technical research or write a paper about a particular aspect of your role. Let your manager see it and then publish with their blessing.
That way, bloggers, promotion lies.
If you want to run your employer down on your blog, so that senior management, co-workers, competitors and, even worse, clients see it, then you may find you are blogging full time quicker than you think.
Life isn't fair. Speech may be free, but sometimes there's a rather hefty price to pay all the same.