I’ve been following the latest blogger-getting-fired story with some interest. (If you haven’t seen about this – this is where a columnist for the New York Times read her nanny’s blog and fired the nanny; and then wrote about it in her column. Last time I noted (publicly) an incident like this, my sympathies were largely with the blogger (Joe Gordon, late of Waterstone’s and now of Forbidden Planet).
This time round my feelings are a bit more mixed, and I think the blogging nanny’s last entry helps me feel justified in that ambivalence. Working with children is just a bit different from working in a job where you are publicising books, and the parent, I think, is entitled to a little more of a comfort zone, however irrational and logically ill-founded, than the bookseller; and all kinds of personality issues which should ever be considered in the office do become important in the home. I hope I myself wouldn’t fire a blogging nanny, but I think her employers had an unquestionable right to take that into account if they wanted.
Having said that, while it may be within the bounds of acceptable behaviour for the parent to fire the blogging nanny, it is certainly not then within the bounds of acceptable behaviour to write a long newspaper article sensationalising the nanny’s blog, and I feel considerable sympathy for the nanny who as far as I can tell showed much more discretion in describing her employers than they have since done towards her.
I came across a blog the other day describing the life of a Western woman living in an Eastern European country, a moving account of her small child getting bigger and her own attempt to come to terms with her husband’s having recently admitted that he had an affair several years ago. She has posted enough information that I was able to google the husband’s fairly high-powered job almost instantly – she’s used their real names (and the real name of the head of the organisation for which the husband works) and the real city and country in which they are based. I attempted to be a Good Samaritan a few weeks ago, when it was my own organisation; perhaps I should make the same suggestion again…