Julie’s story – big bother from Big Brother

Julie’s previous manager was a bit of a control freak, and liked to use her ‘knowledge’ to have a hold over her minions.

One day, Julie was chatting with her in the office, when the conversation turned to MySpace etc. To Julie’s surprise, her boss looked pointedly at her and said, “I know all about your MySpace profile!”

The boss then went on to mention a particular blog Julie had written about the company being a particularly nasty brand of corporate b*****ds after they had really annoyed her. It had been written at the time she had first left the firm, which she had subsequently returned to, and admits it was, with hindsight, a slightly foolish thing to do!

But that was not all. The boss then began to talk about the way Julie had described her job on her Facebook page (‘glorified receptionist and general monkey’), and how it ‘might not be in the best interests of the company’ to describe her employment in those terms.

Julie was a bit perplexed as to how her boss knew about these things, as none of her work colleagues were ‘friends’ on either of these networks. When pressed on this point, Julie’s boss merely smiled knowingly.

Eventually, Julie surmised that someone in the company, whether by design or simply to alleviate boredom, was checking up on staff profiles to ensure they weren’t making ‘negative comments in the public domain’ about their employer.

It transpired that the company had indeed inserted a clause into its employees’ contracts to the effect that it would be checking up on people to ensure they were not making comments that were detrimental to the firm’s public image.

Julie says she can’t confirm whether anyone has actually lost their job over Web postings, but knows of one ex-colleague who was sacked for falsely calling in sick, and then going to a concert and posting the pictures on Facebook. Again, no company personnel were on their friend list and their profile was set to ‘public’. Julie has since made all her own SNS settings ‘private’, so they can only be viewed by personal friends.

The company in question has now blocked access for all employees to  Facebook and MySpace, as well as MSN, YouTube, and all blog sites – anything that could be deemed as ‘frivolous’. Employees are not even able to access these sites from the office during their personal or lunch times.

And this seems to be a growing trend, as Julie found out from her brother, who works for a local council, and was hauled over the coals by his own manager a few weeks after posting the following comments on his MySpace blog:

“So, had my ‘one-to-one’ with my manager – who after showing me a sheaf of papers proving that I’m not working hard, pointed out that I seem a bit demotivated, and my heart wasn’t really in the job. Good f***ing skills. I only gripe about it EVERY F***ING DAY! How did you spot it? Work bites.”

However, unabashed by his grilling, Julie brother responded by writing a short, generic blog entitled, “If you’re reading this, you suck.”