Call her Narsissy. She has another name, and in fact used to mention it quite a bit on her Web site, but she no longer does so, and this is why:

I haven't been posting about the part of my life that takes up 75% of my time. My job. Basically, I don't want my employers to read anything I may post about my job. I won't mention the company directly, because the company I work for is pretty well known and hated by most everyone. I haven't been posting lately because I've been preoccupied with work, and the whole reason I keep this blog is so that I can vent and write openly about my life. I've been feeling censored lately because I've been afraid of the reaction I may get from people who read this and because you never know who may be reading. But I need to be able to write about it.

I can certainly understand this. Where I live, employers can sack you for using the wrong finger to pick your nose at a staff meeting, and I suspect it's not much different where she lives.

Self-censorship, however, is still censorship. And while there's seldom a need to name too many names — if nothing else, there's a reason for all those "DO NOT FEED THE LAWYERS" signs — malfeasance at work is inevitably going to consume a great deal of one's life, and what is a log but an ongoing description of one's life?

And so it was that I told my boss at 42nd and Treadmill, "If you see something on my site that looks an awful lot like something incredibly stupid that happened at work, most likely it's referring to something incredibly stupid that happened at work." I'm not going out of my way to make sure that everyone this side of Zbigniew Brzezinski gets every last bit of biographical detail about the culprits, but if it happens to me, it's fair game, and I reserve the right to put whatever spin on it that seems to fit the available facts. (Which is handy, since if the Official Response is "You don't have all the facts," I can legitimately respond, "Well, why the hell don't I?" I'm not the secrecy addict; it's not my fault if they choose to act like J. Edgar Hoover in a wrinkled crinoline.)

This stance should surprise no one who knows me at all. For the last forty-eight years, I have operated under the premise that biting the hand that feeds me should be considered one of the major food groups. And I continue to believe that the most sensible way to avoid criticism is to avoid doing things that deserve criticism. If you're the sort who can read through this and think, "Why, you insufferable so-and-so, if you were working for me I'd fire your ass in a minute," there's at least a measurable chance that someone is already writing about you. It might even be Narsissy:

In the weeks to come and probably for a while after that I'll be talking about my job in depth. This is just the beginning.

To invoke a popular cliché of the times: You go, girl.

The Vent

#270
25 November 2001

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