Ask LH: How Can I Blog About My Crappy Workplace Without Them Finding Out?

Dear Lifehacker, I'm planning on starting a blog mainly to vent about issues surrounding the niche industry I work in. While I won't be doing anything illegal, it would certainly not go down well with my current employer and clients. Do you have any tips for remaining anonymous? Shallow Throat

Dear ST,

The key to anonymity is pretty simple: don't use names, dates or any other specifics that have the potential to be traced back to you. While it might be tempting to call out your company by name, this will vastly increase the odds of being identified and will leave you feeling constantly paranoid.

Last year, we ran a regular feature called Accidental IT Pro which was written by "Jason Dean" (not his real name). It dealt with the bumbling stupidity he encountered as an IT account manager. In addition to being frequently hilarious, the series successfully pinpointed common issues within the industry without naming names. In short, you need to hit your message hard while keeping the details vague.

Regardless of how niche your industry is, it's highly unlikely that you're the only disgruntled employee out there. As long as you stick to the above rule, you should be pretty safe from detection. In any event, the internet is a pretty big place -- it's entirely possible that your boss will never see the blog.

If the above doesn't sound ideal, you need to asses why you want to write the blog in the first place? If you want to highlight common problems in the industry or simply need a place to vent, then the actual name of your company isn't important. If, on the other hand, you want to damage your employer's reputation, it's probably time to look for another job. We advise putting your efforts into that instead of petty revenge.

You can find tips on starting a writing career and the best blogging platforms to use here and here, respectively. Good luck!

Cheers Lifehacker

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    Be aware that if you register a domain name, people can search those details and pinpoint who you are (if you gave real information).

      Also note court cases like NIGHTJACK in the UK. The court and the populace are never very forgiving even if your identity gets found via hacking.

      Last edited 11/09/15 4:28 pm

    People aren't stupid and the world is a much smaller place than you realise. If you're in a niche industry there's a good chance people will be able to pin the author as you.

    "you need to asses"
    Still deciding which typo I like best:
    "you need two asses
    " you need to assess

    Option 1 is leading by a number of giggles.

    Be careful here. Some companies make it a contractual condition that employees won't bag out the organisation online. Usually in similar clauses to NDAs.

    That may not sound fair and some would consider their free time precisely that, but it could wind up being a sackable offence if it can be traced back to you. Which includes pretty much anything. Just as employers often screen interview candidates' social media, it stands to reason they will do the same for current employees.

    Think about whether it's really worth it before posting.

    Is blogging really worth more than your salary? or your professional reputation? or providing for your family? NO!!!

    People have lost their jobs instantly because they dont know that saying stuff about either your customers or your fellow employees or your boss is a really bad idea. Not even including things like confidentiality, professional liability, company secrets etc.

    A project manager for a company told his girlfriend on social media (why didnt he use an sms or email is beyond me) "Sorry honey, not going to be home tonight, pulling an all-nighter at work cause of problem with my project."... he didnt realise that he just told the whole world (namely investors watching his company) that there was a problem, fearing a share price drop they dismissed him from the project and he was a sad joke until the project was finalised on schedule and passed an internal audit, but by then it wasnt his project and he didnt get the bonus or the recognition for his work.

    If you lost a job cause of something you said online, the chances of you getting a job is slim to none, cause future employers will check your facebook, linkedin and twitter if they can

    There have been so many people fired from childcare centres across the world cause they posted online after a crappy day at work and said "they hated the children" on facebook or twitter not thinking the parents would see. So many stories of people being fired get spawned across the internet with reblogging that if you mess up just once your name and career in a google search will pull up hundreds of links saying "you hate your job"... goodbye career.

    JUST DONT!!!!

    Before trying to come up with ways to abuse your employer, it might be worthwhile considering how you would feel if a friend or colleague chose to anonymously and publicly broadcast all of their personal criticisms on your character, abilities and productivity.

    And if your issues with the industry are such that you can't put your name to them, you're in the wrong industry.

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