one man's journey into creating gibblybits

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Fired over comments? I can relate.

Former TUAW blogger and all-around nice guy Chris Ullrich tweeted this story by Sprudge unmasking the Bitter Barista, who was subsequently fired from his City Coffee job.

As a fan of comedy and free speech, I think that sucks for the author of the blog, who was working on a book deal, etc. I'm not sure if Sprudge "got" the joke here.

Anyway, at my first "real" full-time working for the man job in the dot-com era, I was fired for private comments.

The company I worked for had hired some college kid to do a crappy job of our intro animation (yeah, remember Flash intro animations? I was not a fan of it back then either) and I emailed the owners of a design site and offhandedly mentioned, please don't go to our site because it sucks. The rest of my email was praising them for an aqua-style button tutorial for Photoshop they had posted. So my boss's boss does a search for our goofy, unique, dot-com era name on Yahoo (this was before Google was king) and guess what comes up? Derp.

 I learned a few lessons when I was fired and had to come home to tell my then 7-months pregnant wife about it that day.

  1. If you have problems with management, TELL THEM ABOUT IT. Specifically, if you see dumb things happening, try to inject some sense into the conversation. That hasn't always been easy at AOL, but frankly in the past couple of years I have seen a complete turnaround. Awesome, smart, energetic people are working there and getting things done. 
  2. Mark private conversations private, use a disclaimer when something is off the record. This should go without saying, but I'm still guilty of not doing it in some cases (rarely). Luckily I trust the people I work with and know that I can be open and honest with them. 
  3. Dee Haslam taught me a trick to write up a huffy email, then save it. Come back to it later and see if you still want to use that same tone. I frequently do not.

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