Contrary to popular belief, most bloggers aren’t blogging full time. Most of us have full time jobs to pay the bills (and will continue to do so until landlords start accepting exposure in lieu of rent).
Which means that most of us have to learn to juggle working full time with running our blogs.
This can be tricky for a lot of reasons. Firstly, finding the time to stick to a regular posting schedule and work a 9-5 (or whatever kind of job you work) is hard. Secondly, the absolute terror of having your colleagues discover your little corner of the internet is paralysing.
At least, it is for some people.
For me, I’ve always been unashamedly proud of my blog. In fact, I’m so proud of my blog that it sits happily on my CV, for any future employer to see. Indeed, the only reason I got my first ever grown up job to begin with was because of my blog. I had zero work experience and zero knowledge about the world of marketing, but I had proved with my blog that I could write, build a social following, and market myself effectively online. And apparently companies like people who can do that.
I know for a lot of people, however, integrating their blog life with their work life is terrifying. Worse still, bosses can be terrible, and many bloggers are worried that their blog will get them in trouble – or even fired.
The truth is, if your boss tries to fire you for having a blog, they’re shit (and you can probably sue their arse for wrongful termination). There are, however, a few instances where your boss might be justified in telling you off for your blogging habits. Such as…
Naming your place of work
If you’re worried about getting in trouble at work, it’s best to just avoid mentioning your workplace in your blog or social media at all. That doesn’t mean you can’t rant about a bad day you’ve had. Or mention the sector you work in. It just means it’s probably not a good idea to name and shame the exact company you work for, while you still work there.
Naming your colleagues
Hand in hand with the previous point goes never mentioning your colleagues by name. You probably shouldn’t blog about your colleagues at all (unless, like me, you want to talk about things like office sexism), but if you do, steer clear of names. That way nobody can sue you for slander. Or libel. Whichever one it is.
Pursuing a conflict of interest
If you make any money from your blog, or work with brands, it’s probably best to make your employer aware of this. In my contract, it actually states that I have to make my employer aware of any other business ventures I’m involved in.
That’s because you can’t be involved in a conflict of interest. In other words, you can’t work for Superdrug by day, and be paid to blog about Boots by night.
Most decent employers won’t prevent you from pursuing outside paid ventures, providing they don’t infringe on your work for the company. Basically, just use your head here. If you work for Microsoft, don’t take brand opportunities from Apple.
Blogging on the job
Trust me, I get it. You probably started your blog because you were bored of the job you were working. I’m sure you’d much rather be at home writing blog posts than at your desks writing about PPI (that’s what I do for a day job, in case you’re interested).
But it’s probably not a good idea to blog on the job. Your employer probably won’t take to kindly to you using your paid working hours to work on other projects. So even if you’re bored stiff at your job, save the blogging for your lunch break.
Inciting hate speech
Most companies have a social media policy that stipulates that employees can be disciplined for being dicks on their personal social media accounts. It’s kinda like when you were at school and your teachers told you off for twatting around after school in your school uniform, cos you were acting as a representative of the school.
Now, your company can’t fire you for expressing your political opinions online (well, they can try but I’m pretty sure there are laws about that). But if you start inciting hate speech and violence, they can definitely tell you off.
In fact, you can technically be arrested for that. But you probably won’t be, because governments care far more about murdering disabled people than they do about harassers on the internet.
I hope this has given you some insight into whether you can be fired for having a blog.
I’d love to hear about your experiences of blogging with a full time job. Has your blog ever gotten you into trouble? Do your colleagues know about your life online? Let me know in the comments!