You probably work for a company that has a corporate social media policy (CSMP). I’m betting that your CSMP’s preamble starts with words like, “we would never restrict the free speech rights of employees but blah, blah, blah, … It’s what follows the “but” that matters. For example my employer does not want anything I write to:
- Adversely reflect on the “brand.”
- Divulge proprietary or trade secrets.
- Reflect poorly on company officers and employees.
- Move our stock price.
This is all just common sense as far as I’m concerned and it irritates me that we now have to sit through more mandatory inane HR training sessions belaboring the obvious. Corporate social media policies join sexual harassment, diversity training and nondisclosure agreements in the ever-expanding pantheon of to be ignored corporate bullshit. In my case my company is safe. I purge my brain of work thoughts the second I leave the company’s parking lot. I refuse to carry company cell-phones and I will fight like a cornered badger to keep work at work. There is a difference between being a professional and being a serf.
Companies prefer managing serfs. The ideal employee is the professional serf. You might think professional serfs are as common as unicorns but you’re wrong. The young often go through a professional serf stage. If you’re a graduate student you’re probably a professional serf. If you’re a top ranked young programmer working seventy hour weeks on some doomed pile of crap-ware you’re a professional serf. If you’re an articling lawyer you’re a professional serf. If you’re a medical intern you’re a professional serf. Many employers want to meet and exploit you. They know that you will burnout or smarten up but HR’s persistent cream dream is to find some naive young genius willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for their good.
I went through a professional serf stage but my bad attitude couldn’t sustain it. Now I think like a corporation; I put a price on everything! If you want me to give a crap about your servers at 2am on Saturday that will be another $15,000 per year and an extra week of vacation time. I’ve found that when you’re completely upfront about these issues you either don’t get the gig, usually a blessing in disguise, or people see they’re dealing with a real professional and want you even more. Corporations have enough simpering eunuchs on the payroll, having a few ballsy shitheads around gives the joint class.
By now you’re probably wondering if I’ve violated my employer’s corporate social media policy. Have I damaged their brand? Have I impugned our CEO? Have I goosed our stock price? Have I exposed proprietary secrets? No, no, no and no! Will I moderate my opinions and think about the company when blogging? No!