Just finished talking to two of our lovely lawyers about the legal -- um -- issues surrounding the the cluster of activities that seem to all fall under the label "blogging." Should the company CEO blog? Ought an employee to blog? If so, then what? What are the rules of engagemement? There are oceans of examples to be found by a simple google, but it's the underlying juices that are interesting.
It's a lovely example of the split: "I work for you on work time" people vs. the "I work for you all the time" people. Now, really, which is a better value? People who work for you all the time don't understand why you should mind if they also play all the time. I am my doctor's patient all the time, even when I'm at work.
People who "work for you on work time" are selling you time, not self. And they feel justified in hiding things from their employers as a result. It's none of their business, after all, quite literally, if they didn't pay for that time.
On the other hand, we're talking about people who are neither punching a clock nor protected by law in their working hours. What is working time, anymore? I do so much work at home that the concept of "workers comp" (because it's an injury sustained "at work") is getting funny. Certainly weird, legally. It's all getting weird. Years ago, I made my peace with being paid for reaching goals, and made a practice of explaining that to each supervisor in turn. And as long as I kept reaching the goals, no one seemed to mind my disregard for routine.
But what about the people who do hold on to this notion of "work time" -- which is being bought and paid for and "my time" which is sacrosanct, private, personal, and hidden?
About thirty years ago, I wrote a paper on Privacy. A senior thesis, very bulky and full of references. What I learned from my work is that at that time, our "privacy" rested on the very thin support of the general inconvenience of paperwork. We had privacy because no one could be bothered to take the time and trouble to connect everything up. We'd already provided all the info needed to x-ray our lives, open to all in government files -- but the info was not integrated.
For years, I relaxed into the protection of process inconvenience. But that was then. Now it's not inconvenient, it's easy. If you think you have "Privacy" -- well, if you do it's now resting on the support of the honor and honesty of the people who have all your info at their fingertips. I'm okay with that, actually. I've been thinking about it for 30 years.
But about those people who have sold half their lives and think they can retain the other half...I suppose it can work if you're lucky. Lucky enough for no supervisor to order you to do something you can't in honor do -- but you now must because you've accepted this sort of gentleman's slavery. "I am not myself when I am at work -- I am the person they want to pay for my time..." I see those people around me. Heck, I did that once -- but really, never again. What a cost it was to fire a person when I would not have done it myself.
And what about the half of the life that isn't sold? Do they think the company won't notice what they do? Will the company have a point of view about it? You betcha. So it's no freedom anywhere if you try to sell your time rather than your commitment.
It seems like HR lags a bit in understanding this, but hey, they're probably doing something else with their time...
- ▼ November (4)