A Public Personal Life Is Still Private…

December 31, 2014 7:05pm
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So the question at hand is pretty simple – whose business is it what you chose to do in your personal time???

It came about via a random posting on Facebook in the form of a warning to kids about what they post online, specifically with concerns about jeopardizing any potential scholarships as they’re preparing to go off to college. In one scathing example, a child being scouted for college sports was cited as being no longer considered after the recruiter came across this person’s social media accounts and didn’t like what they found…

And that’s really troubling for me, as I expressed in a few comments but wanted to elaborate more on here because for me the scenario sounded awfully similar to an overreaching employer trying to dictate what his employees are allowed to do online, which frankly I think is kind of horse shit.

I’m going to write about it here from the perspective of the employer/employee simply because I think it relates to more people, in addition to the student level seeming a little power-play-y between the adults admitting students and the students desperate to get into a good college.

Of course, then again I’ve certainly worked for full blown employers who try to do that same sort of crap with their employees, so maybe the simple power aspect of it has more weight than I assumed… 🙁

…but anyways…

The way I see it, when you work at a job your employer gets you for X hours a week, and in exchange for the money they pay you they get to establish some rules:

  • They can say when you’re to report to work.
  • They can say what you’re allowed to wear.
  • They can say how you’re supposed to answer the phone.
  • They can even limit the amount of personal things you do during company time – up to zero should they so desire.

But the thing is, with the exception of specified positions in the company, your job has to have a defined beginning and end to it where your working day ends and your personal life resumes because otherwise you should be getting paid for much more than 8 hours of work each day!

And it’s for this reason that your boss doesn’t get to decide:

  • What you’re going to have for dinner that night.
  • What you’re going to watch on TV.
  • Whether you’re going to have intercourse with your spouse.
  • and so forth!

They’re not paying for that time, so they have no right to dictate how you’re going to spend it, and just like how yesterday it was none of your boss’s business whether you had a couple of beers while watching the game over the weekend, it also shouldn’t be any of his business what you choose to post online when you’re not on the clock, either.

Now of course the big caveat is simple – it’s probably not wise to trash talk your boss online, and specifically to do it by name, but aside from that I have a real problem with this whole concept of using things posted online as a judgement of a person’s character when the non-digital equivalents are still very much considered off-limits. An employee would never worry about getting reprimanded at work on Monday for saying the word, “Fuck!” in his backyard over the weekend, so why should it suddenly be a ding against his character if he posts something similar to his Twitter or Facebook account???

Sure, maybe he posts some things that are controversial or downright nasty, but still, just because it’s posted online shouldn’t make it an indicator of how well you’ll perform at your job or in your classes at school … not to mention the little subjective issue of what may be offensive to you isn’t necessarily offensive to the next person down the line.

Just as it’s none of your employer’s business if you get drunk on the weekends, or go to church, or date members of the opposite sex, or walk around the house in your underwear, they’re not paying you for the things that you post on your Twitter account outside the hours of 8a – 5p, and honestly I think enough of these kinds of cases are going to turn into lawsuits that eventually we’re going to have a bigger discussion on just how “official” the boundaries between personal and professional lives really are.

There’s a reason why we don’t police free speech, and even though I know I’ve also said myself that freedom of speech doesn’t necessarily mean freedom from consequences, it’s one thing to have someone pass judgement in a personal setting but it’s an entirely different monster when it happens at work or school where the thing said has no relevance in the first place. Besides, today someone decides that saying swear words on Twitter is a poor show of character, but what happens next week when it’s saying liberal things or saying anti-Christian things?

I guess I kind of look at it the same way that I would IP rights – if you want to pay me $1,000, I’ll write something for you to run exclusively on your site; $250 gets you non-exclusive rights to reprint something I’ve already written, but you can’t demand the lower rate and exclusivity because that’s not what you’re paying for at that rate.

As an employer, you pay someone to work for you for 40 hours per week. If you want to maintain a code of conduct outside of those hours, put up or shut up unless I’m specifically going out of my way to slander or share trade secrets about your own company.

Going back to the original story, sure it makes for a bad headline when it says UNIVERSITY OF BADGERVILLE FOOTBALL STAR TWEETS ABOUT UNICORNS ONLINE, but are you paying for his tweets or are you paying him to play football???

I think if schools and employers are going to demand a say in our social media presence after hours, it should cost them.

Dream Journal : The Great Chase

December 29, 2014 12:45pm
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I was at work and things were weird.

First they were shuffling desks around, which made me really upset because I was back by my old group in an open floor plan setting and it felt like I was getting a demotion. Then they fixed it and said that I was really supposed to be somewhere completely different, so that was fine.

Then I was supposed to be looking into an issue for a specific customer where we didn’t work a ticket on-time, and the customer was allegedly pretty upset but a lot of folks were just trying to sweep it under the rug. I refused to let it go, so I kept digging and was pissing a few people off here and there until I finally got to the root of it and could verify that we definitely hadn’t worked their ticket completely – somebody had written the code for the customer, but it hadn’t been tested yet so they didn’t technically have it, although the manager in charge was trying to be shady and said that it really wasn’t that big of a deal…

So we got in a big verbal fight that escalated to us yelling at each other on the floor and at one point he threatened to beat me up. His wife also happened to work there, who I got along with a bit better, but she got into it, too, until I finally walked away and still refused to let it go. When she came over to my desk and wanted to confront me on it, I finally straight up told her that the problem had always just been that her husband was a gigantic asshole … which she didn’t want to hear at first, but then something else happened.

Apparently it all clicked and she knew that I was right, and then she went back and told him that she was going to divorce him for it!

He was pretty mad at me about that…

And so began the great chase – I first ducked into a stairwell when I saw him sprinting towards my desk and shouting, and we played hide and seek around the stairs and the hallways for a bit until I finally ended up outside and decided to just make a run for it. I took off sprinting – apparently home – down this mostly dirt road, assuming that my assailant was still in hot pursuit.

At one point a group of runners approached from behind and easily caught up with me because I’d been running for a while at that point. I was afraid that he was part of the group, but they said that he wasn’t, but also that he wasn’t far behind them, which forced me to go cross-country and take off into the woods in an attempt to duck him.

After running through the woods for a long while, I came to this almost Alice in Wonderland-y-like scene where a river ran through the forest and these giant, colorful flowers sort of provided a canopy of cover over the entire thing. From the flowers hung these vines that I could swing on, and I found that I could cover a lot more ground by swinging close to the water, although I also worried that somehow maybe my assailant could see how the flowers were being pulled down as I swung and would still be able to track me that way…

But he didn’t, and several miles away at that point I came to the end of the patch of giant flowers and found an old campground with a shower area where I could rest for a while. I had been running for several hours and had covered a lot of ground, but now I knew that I also had a long way to go to get back to civilization, or so I thought. I crashed inside of the building and was awoken when people started coming and going as they do and I realized that the campground wasn’t actually abandoned after all.

Mingling around for a while after I cleaned myself up, I made a couple of friends and we wandered into this general store in the campground that contained all sorts of random junk that one tends to find at your average camp store. One thing that the store also contained that you don’t tend to find, however, was Kevin Smith – the director – who was apparently just hanging out and quickly made friends with us as well. We chatted for a while and he said that we should come hang out with him back at his place, and we browsed the store together and he pointed out a few great deals.

The store had a surprising amount of pop culture and comic book-type stuff, so I guess that’s where his expertise came in. We found a grey, plastic ray gun from an old cartoon series that was marked down from $1 to a mere $0.75 and we both agreed that one couldn’t not buy something like that at such discount prices! The guy also had some Magic: The Gathering and Marvel cards tucked away in a box, but I worried that maybe he actually knew what they were worth so I didn’t even ask about those…

Eventually we decided that we needed to get back and said goodbye, and kept walking until we reached what was like a mobile computer center for work that had workstations and whatnot. And so one of the guys suggested that we check on the ticket to see if maybe it had gotten taken care of while I was away. We approached one of the computers, half expecting the guy to jump out at us or have smashed it in advance or something, but nothing happened and we were able to pull the thing up and review the ticket log without incident.

The stupid ticket still hadn’t been completed.

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  1. Baby’s First Christmas
  2. A Giant Tree Made of Legos
  3. Just Laugh’s 2014 Holiday Gift Guide
  4. Frozen Christmas Lights
  5. Holiday Snackses!
  6. And a Christmas Tree for Baby, Too!
  7. So Much to Do, So Little Time…
  8. Caroling with Captain Picard & The Avengers
  9. A Neighborhood of Dancing Lights
  10. Christmas Eve on Sesame Street
  11. Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights!!!
  12. Warm Hugs from Northern Michigan…
  13. Family Photos
  14. The Holidays are Swell!
  15. Bullshit.
  16. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
  17. More Disney Christmas!!!
  18. Baby’s First Christmas, Ornament Edition
  19. 8-Bit Cinema: A Christmas Story
  20. Holiday Exhaustion
  21. Exterior Decorating
  22. The Sevener Family Christmas Card
  23. Baby Meets Santa Claus
  24. Just Laugh Holiday Humor

Bonus Posts:

I didn’t get a chance to wrap things up yesterday between staying up until 4:30am helping Santa and then all of the wonderful Christmas Day festivities to follow, but needless to say it was a pretty great – albeit fast – holiday season!!!

But I’ll tell you, it was so much fun watching Christopher react to everything new, from the lights to the characters over at Disney to of course his extended family and the veritable smorgasbord of presents that he found himself traversing around the Christmas tree come yesterday. As a side note, our little guy also just so happened to turn nine months old on Christmas Day, so it’s kind of crazy not only to think that we’ll be celebrating his first birthday here in only three months now, but also that next year we’ll be doing this all over again with a much larger baby boy who by then will be walking and talking when it comes time to celebrate this glorious season once more in 2015! 😯

Happy Christmas to all, and may your new year be as exciting and amazing as I have little doubt mine is going to be…

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Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to share this year’s Lego Holiday Village because a) I only put it up about a week ago, and more importantly b) I literally didn’t finish putting together the latest set – Santa’s Workshop – until about 3:00am last night!

As you can see, the space issues from last year were only partially resolved by relocating the village to our Lego shelves in the family room and eventually I can still see the entire display taking up residence on a card table or something in the years to come … no idea where said table will go, mind you. But I like how it looks and I think that the lights and the snow are a nice touch … at least until we can really go wild with it and design a set with white base plates and actual brick snow… 😀

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For those of you who haven’t been playing along at home, I’ve been dabbling in a bit of Christmas jokey thingys over the past month with Just Laugh, and although I’m not quite ready to say for sure if this is the start of a new leaf turning over in terms of projects that are back on my forefront once more, I can say that so far I’ve been having a whole lot of fun writing them and if you happen to be looking for a good chuckle on this holiday eve night, I do hope that yule enjoy them, too…

…see what I did there? 😉

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Tonight we spent a few hours at Lowry Park Zoo here in Tampa for their evening Christmas festivities, with one of the more significant features being Christopher meeting jolly, old St. Nick for the first time!

He did … ok … but wasn’t exactly all smiles like he usually is, and we even got a bit of crying lip just when we decided that it was time to go.

For what it’s worth, he was admittedly a bit indifferent when he first met Santa Goofy a couple of weeks ago, too… 😛

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You have no idea how hard it was to pick just ten photos for this year’s card!

…now to address and mail forty of these little beauties… 🙁

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