Professional Spewicide? As easy as falling off a blog…
A 24-year-old reporter recently quit his job as a bureau chief for a Canadian TV network. In his blog, he wrote a lengthy post to tell his friends, family, and followers exactly why he was fed up with the broadcast news industry.
His beefs included (a) his network owned the copyright on his work product (b) as a reporter, he wasn’t allowed to state his personal opinion on issues (c) the networks think if their news reporters don’t look like Ken or Barbie, they’ll lose viewers (d) the Prince William and Kate tour of Canada got way too much media coverage.
My first thought was…he’s 24, and he was a already a bureau chief? Impressive! I’ve got Super-VHS tapes older than this guy!
My next thought was…maybe he should’ve researched the current climate of his chosen field before he got into it. If you can’t take the cold, get off the rink!
My final thought was…won’t every potential employer be able to read his Jerry Maguire-like manifesto online for years to come…and judge him for better or for worse on his public declaration of how much his job sucked?
Another disgruntled employee, this time of an upscale grocery chain, emailed his letter of resignation to everyone in his company. In it, he slagged over his supervisors and co-workers in a vitriolic and possibly libelous way. The email got posted online and went viral.
People seem to get a vicarious thrill out of these “I quit and f*** you” stories – maybe because a lot of people wish they could afford to quit their own soul-sucking job and would love to expose their horrible bosses to the derision of the whole wide world web.
But thanks to the archival power of the internet, the flames from the bridges someone e-burns today may be blazing brightly for the rest of their career. People might want to think twice before they click on that incendiary “send” or “post” button.
As a professional animation writer, you need to be especially careful about what words you put out into the public forum. As tempting as it may be to gripe openly about a hellish gig that’s driving you nuts, writing negative things about a client can actually violate the terms of your contract.
Re-read that non-disclosure clause. It limits you to brief “non-derogatory” comments about the show you’re working on – the kind of newsy tidbits you’d slip into a bio or post on your blog. Signing a contract means you agree not to publicize anything else about the production: what’s in the series bible, the story lines, your drafts, the terms of your contract, any of those annoying notes you’re being given…
And it’s not just the comments you deliberately post to the public that you have to watch. These days, you need to be discreet in your private communications as well. When every email, text message, tweet, blog or social media posting can be copied and forwarded by accident or on purpose, no form of digital communication is 100% private.
So limit any work-related rants to the verbal kind, and deliver them only to your partner, your agent, your therapist, your bartender, or your friends – where the hearsay rule applies. Anything else could be professional spewicide.