[personal] The intersection between public persona and work life

A very strange, sad thing has happened at my workplace.

I don’t talk about the specifics of my day job much on this blog. I’m not in the witness protection program or anything, it’s just not relevant. My professional role in my workplace has nothing to do with my presence in the world as a writer, or those parts of my personal life which I expose here. I keep the two worlds separate — don’t blog during the workday (duh, I am working), for example.

At the same time, I don’t say anything there on my blog that I would mind anyone at work reading. My life is complex, interesting (to me, at least) and often amusing (again, to me, at least). Unfortunately someone at work didn’t see it that way.

Late last week I won a major quality award at work. This happened while I was on vacation in San Francisco, and it’s a pretty big deal. One of my co-workers apparently disagreed with my fitness for the award, because this past Monday during the executive staff meeting, somebody slipped into the business unit SVP’s office (our CEO, basically) and left a folded copy of my vasectomy post [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ] on his chair. My co-worker very helpfully highlighted my blog address (which is my name) in green marker at the top and bottom of each page, in case he missed the point. The printout was unsigned, the leaving in the big boss’s office done in secret.

I can only assume this was meant to make me look bad. Certainly no one of good will wishing to share something funny would sneak it into the big boss’s office anonymously. The post talks about my reproductive health, and cracks jokes about sex and masturbation. Would I talk that way in the office? Of course not. But that post wasn’t made in a work context, and wasn’t intended for my professional audience.

As it happens, the big boss was annoyed at whoever left it. My boss was livid at the fact that someone was sneaking around trying to undermine one of her people. We talked about it today, and my response was to simply go public with the issue. (Of which she strongly approved, by the way.) I’m not going to hold back now because someone I work with turns out to be a petty sneak.

To my co-worker, whoever you are: If you believe my personal conduct and self-expression outside of the office is professionally inappropriate, take it up with me, or your manager, or my manager, or the HR department. But have the balls to put your name on a complaint about me talking about having my balls trimmed.

I’m not mad at you. In fact, I feel sorry for you. Your world must be pretty wretched if anonymous grade school sneaking is the only way you can see to better it. You might ask your pastor or your therapist or your life partner or your boss if you handled this situation well. I think you’d be surprised at the answer you receive.

You’re certainly not going to shut me up. And you’re not going to get me fired. I don’t back down in the face of bullying, especially not anonymous bullying. Neither do the people who just gave me that award, and have kept me employed for the past half-decade and more.

As for everyone else who reads this blog, and the rest of my work, know this: I do not compromise. You get the real, raw, honest me. I can do no more, and I owe every one of you no less.

11 thoughts on “[personal] The intersection between public persona and work life

  1. Jeremy Tolbert says:

    Bravo. And fuck that person, what disappointment to the human race.

  2. The pettiness of people never ceases to amaze and depress me. I’m glad that you have good bosses.

  3. I get so tired of back-stabbers, malicious pettiness, and gossip. Great post and excellent written confrontation directed to this anonymous, pot-stirring, yellow-bellied bastard.

  4. If you do find out who did it, I recommend sneaking into their office/cubicle when they’re not there and draping the bits the doctor removed over their chair. Anonymously, of course 🙂

  5. Honestly, I wish enough more people talked about the process of vasectomy (and, earlier, cancer) so that it was better coped with. Some of the comments were hilarious.

    May the petty person be unearthed in the way least flattering to him or her.

  6. tetar says:

    Breathtakingly petty of them, and they chose such an absurd point of attack, too. Your post twitting them is on target and their misfire can only have scorched them. As a fellow cancer survivor, I can only encourage open communication about such matters, so more people can be informed and heartened, and maybe even inspired to do something about it in their own lives.

    Workplaces seem such dank, squalid places at times but remember, most of your co-workers are not that way at all.

  7. The pettiness of some people’s concept of work politics never ceases to amaze me. I’ve met plenty who would feel that was a perfectly good action to try and advance. Most of them didn’t survive long.

  8. Mark Siegal says:

    Oy vey. I don’t even get why they thought this would undermine you. I could see (but obviously not condone) doing this with, say, lurid Facebook photos or complaints about your workplace. But that post was so innocuous. Maybe they got bored of lurking, of waiting in vain for you to slip up and post some real ammo.

  9. rick valdes says:

    Your writing will someday reward you so much that any day job is rendered irrelevant and counter productive. I suspect you’re almost there. The leap from the lion’s head, or in this case the cubicle will be the final step to freedom.

    Look forward to seeing you at Rustycon

  10. Sad. Every office always has to have at least one back-stabbing fuckwad.

    Petty indeed.

    Mr. Lake, it is perhaps possible this person is a (failed) aspirant?

    Nobody hates an emerging pro writer more than a bitter, failed aspirant.

    Just my take.

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