UPDATE: Please take the time to read my followup post, Fifteen Minutes of Fame, for my thoughts on what happened after I posted the picture, why it happened — and most importantly, why I don’t blame Microsoft for their actions. Thanks!


The day started like any other day — get up, dink around for a bit, bus into work, and start working through the stack of jobs. Just shy of an hour after I got in, my manager came in and asked me to step into his office when I had a chance. Sure, no biggie, and I headed over as soon as I finished the job I was setting up.

“Okay, here’s the first question. Is this page,” and here he turned his monitor towards me, letting me see my “Even Microsoft wants G5s” post from last Thursday, “hosted on any Microsoft computer? Or is it on your own?”

“It’s on mine. Well, it’s on a hosted site that I pay for, but no, it’s not on anything of Microsoft’s.”

“Good. That means that as it’s your site on your own server, you have the right to say anything you want. Unfortunately, Microsoft has the right to decide that because of what you said, you’re no longer welcome on the Microsoft campus.”

And that simply, as of about 2pm today, I once again joined the ranks of the unemployed.

It seems that my post is seen by Microsoft Security as being a security violation. The picture itself might have been permissible, but because I also mentioned that I worked at the MSCopy print shop, and which building it was in, it pushed me over the line. Merely removing the post was also not an option — I offered, and my manager said that he had asked the same thing — but the only option afforded me was to collect any personal belongings I had at my workstation and be escorted out the door. They were at least kind enough to let me be escorted out by one of my co-workers, rather than sending security over to usher me out, but the end result is the same.

More frustrating for me is that, having read stories here and there on the ‘net about people who had for one reason or another lost their jobs due to something on their weblogs, I thought that I had done what I could to avoid that possibility. To my mind, it’s an innocuous post. The presence of Macs on the Microsoft campus isn’t a secret (for everything from graphic design work to the Mac Business Unit), and when I took the picture, I made sure to stand with my back to the building so that nothing other than the computers and the truck would be shown — no building features, no security measures, and no Microsoft personnel. However, it obviously wasn’t enough.

So, I’m unemployed. I am somewhat lucky in that I’m not technically unemployed — I am still on the roster for my temp agency, who has been very good to me so far (and hopefully will continue to be), but as their ability to place me anywhere does depend on the current job market, it’s not a foolproof guarantee of employment coming in quickly. I’ve put a call into them and let them know of the situation and that I’m available and willing for whatever can be found, so with any luck, they’ll be able to find a placement for me. However, it appears that it’s also time for me to start hitting the streets and shopping my resume around again.

Wish me luck.

369 thoughts on “Of blogging and unemployment

  1. Wow, I can’t believe that the M could be so evil. Perhaps you should join the dark side and start a blog all about thier industry secrets (that everyone actually knows anyway)!

  2. The fact that the offense was so mild is very interesting to me given the fact that I have been hearing that Microsoft is “firing” people for all kinds of reasons lately. My bro-inlaw was told in a review for his job that he has only had for a few months…
    (condensed version)
    Not doing your job
    I have been trying but you won’t train me.
    Your performance doesn’t rate further training.
    What do I need to do?
    You know what you need to do. If you don’t do it, you will have to be let go.

    What the hell? They are trying to make her quit without laying anyone off. They won’t even let him transfer out of their department to somewhere else in MS… referred to as “bad fit”. They won’t say “fired”, but they won’t tell him how to improve becaus if he does then he can’t be fired.

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