Job vs. Blog & Redecorating A Date's Home

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

DEAR CAT: You’re a writer so you can understand my problem. I started a blog about two years ago. I wrote about my travels and some observations from my daily life. Eventually friends and a few strangers started posting comments and it was a neat way of keeping in touch. A few months ago my boss read it and he thought it was inappropriate. Recently he talked to me and asked if I would “keep a lower profile” because clients might see it and be “turned off” to the firm. I will admit I put very detailed personal stuff on there (including sexual details), but it’s private and I never mention my work. I hope to become a writer one day and this is a way to “publish” and get a following. Do you think I should take it down to appease my boss, or pursue my art? – IN A TIGHT SPOT

DEAR I.A.T.S.: Only you can make the ‘job vs. blog’ call, but keep this in mind: your blog is not private, it is as public as a billboard and you like it that way. As you said, you want a “following.” That’s understandable but with exposure comes possible censure and you have to be prepared for it. How about a compromise: Write about subjects other than yourself in that blog, then create an anonymous site where you can promote your personal exploits. Yes we are both writers, but I don’t expose the intimate details of my personal life to the world. It’s your choice to go that route, but… Cat’s Call: Not everyone will see your sex stories as “art.”

DEAR CAT: I am a 47 yr old divorced man. I’ve been seeing a great woman for about three months and things are going nicely but she has started making suggestions about changing my décor and she has even moved some furniture around without asking me first. Is it a big deal if a plant is moved from one windowsill to another? No, but it’s my window sill and I am thinking she might be overstepping her bounds. To be polite I told her that the changes look nice, but she could see my hesitation and said, “thanks, but you don’t know about decorating.” I have a very nice home (my ex wife and I hired a decorator five years ago) and I don’t want to change it. How should I handle this? — LEAVE MY HOME ALONE

DEAR LEAVE: If she really knew about decorating, she’d know your home should please you above anyone else. It’s one thing to suggest moving a plant from a dark corner to a sunny spot, it’s quite another to rearrange your furniture without permission. Then she insulted your sense of décor! Yeah, she needs a good talking-to. She’s forcing her ‘signature’ on your home (and erasing your ex-wife’s fingerprints) and that’s a big no-no. Explain to Ms. Decorator that a person’s home is part of their identity; if you insult the home, you insult the owner. Also… Cat’s Call: Hang this column on your fridge so she sees it the next time she’s rifling around.

  1. Hey Cat,

    It’s not the Girlfriend’s fault. Women are told very early on in their dating careers to put a signature on a guy’s place. That way a guy knows they can maintain a nice home for them.

    — Leila    03/09/2009    Reply

  2. Hi Cat,

    The blogger is an idiot. In this economy she is worried about her ‘art’ and not about keeping in good with the boss? She claims to want to be a writer some day, how does she think a potential publisher or agent would view her blog? This is why people think artists are freaks.

    — Ricki in Philly    03/09/2009    Reply

  3. No offense to “In A Tight Spot” but it’s highly doubtful anyone want to read her “sexual details.” Ok maybe those few strangers, like she says, but otherwise she’s just one more random person exposing her personal life to the world and expecting people to applaud her for it. That’s the way of the blogging world.

    — Kal, Pittsburgh    03/10/2009    Reply

  4. Dear “In A Tight Spot”,
    I bet your letter to Cat included your blog address in the hope she’d publicize it. I don’t see your blog as artistic expression. It’s just a way to get attention like people who go on Jerry Springer. Maybe that’s why you only have “a few strangers” who look at it.

    — Pittsburgher    03/10/2009    Reply

  5. I’m a writer and I have published ‘personal’ things like poetry, essays, etc. I started before blogging took off when getting published required sending hard copies of your work to publishers and agents. Tight Spot suffers from the aforementioned Jerry Springer syndrome. She wants attention merely for living her regular life and writing about it later. Very few people get lucky that way and those occasions are reserved for gifted writers. Otherwise writing is a craft that takes a lot of time and effort, and often knocking heads with an editor before the public sees the work. She is jeopardizing her future success rather than preparing herself for it.

    — LAwriter (LA, CA)    03/10/2009    Reply

  6. I have to disagree with the commenter Leila about putting a signature on a man’s home. From a man’s perspective when a woman does that she looks pushy, not nurturing. I am surprised to find myself agreeing so completely with Cat on this question.

    — Pgh PA    03/10/2009    Reply

  7. Wow, there sure are some “catty” women commenting here on this woman’s personal choices – probably because they are jealous they don’t have an exciting enough life to blog about. What happened to what your mother taught you – if you don’t have nothing nice to say – don’t. It’s so sad that American’s are so up tight about sex – hello – it’s natural. I bet every one of those women say a whole lot to their own girlfriends about their own sex life – most women do. Someone shouldn’t be worried about living their life because of the economy? Those without sin, cast the first stone. I liked Cat’s Call – great answer.

    — Danielle - Pittsburgh    03/10/2009    Reply

  8. I’m split on the question by the blogger. While I agree with the comments already posted here I still believe it is a person’s right to express their self however they choose.How many blogs are on the internet? About 250 million and if 10 people (besides her friends) look at her blog in a year that’s probably a good number. I don’t think her boss has the right to tell her to stop the blog but I think Cat had the best solution here.

    — kenneman Ohio    03/10/2009    Reply

  9. I for one would love to read the intimate details of your personal life Cat. It would help to see where you get your perspective. My call: write an alternate column like Cat’s Life or something so we can see where you get your wisdom. You don’t have to include sordid details but enough to keep it spicy. You are an intriguing woman and in fact the lack of personal details about you adds to that. The blogger should take the cue. Excellent “call” on the home decorator by the way. If a girlfriend did that to my place she wouldn’t be my girlfriend the next morning.

    — manchaman NYC    03/10/2009    Reply

  10. There is no personal privacy anymore. That’s WHY bloggers blog. She puts her sexual details on there because she knows sex sells. Her boss most likely reads it every night after work. Good solution here, to make it anonymous. I didn’t think of that.

    — anonymous, pittsburgh    03/10/2009    Reply

  11. She MIGHT be overstepping her bounds??? Not only that, it’s really bad manners and rude to basically say that someone has no taste. I understand and that a lot of women are taught to show a man they’ll be good home-keepers but insulting a man’s belongings is just rude.

    — Pittsburgh PA    03/10/2009    Reply

  12. In re IN A TIGHT SPOT:

    It all depends how much she or he needs the job and can comfortably get away with with her or his boss and supervisors. I’d start off by bargaining and get the company to buy into the principle of some blogging. Try to build some trust and see how it takes off — and find ways to surprise them. Do they sell heat lamps? Mention on occasion how much you like heat lamps.

    If they don’t budge, and you ARE a writer, and you feel blogging gives you something you need for your craft … walk.

    — Bram R    03/10/2009    Reply

  13. What kind of work ethic era are we living in when someone says, “give me blogging or give me unemployment!”? A blog is a free, uncensored internet spot to do with whatever you want. Having friends and a few strangers offer their thoughts on your sex life won’t prepare you for the real world of publishing. It takes no cost or effort to build a blog, hell you can cut and paste things into it. That’s a good thing, I’ll buy that. But “Bram” and the girl in the question don’t seem to understand that she could write anywhere and not have her colleagues give their two cents about her private life. She just loves the attention. My call: She could email her thoughts and writings to friends, then ask them to forward it around, then create a mailing list. But that takes real effort, something she’s obviously not willing to exert.

    — Scott P. Baltimore MD    03/10/2009    Reply

  14. Scott P. – IATS didn’t say she was blogging at work. She said she was blogging, and that her boss just doesn’t like the idea.

    Who doesn’t love attention?

    — Bram R    03/12/2009    Reply

  15. I have calls about both questions. First, I have a blog and I understand feeling attached to doing it. But I’m not under a false idea that the world cares about it ( think my friends look at it to be polite but they already know how I feel about pretty much everything). I do it as a kind of release but I would never put anything sexual in there, that’s just immature in my opinion. Second, the redecorating date really bothered me, what a complete lack of manners! And such a violation of the guy’s personal space.

    — Pittsburgh PA    03/12/2009    Reply


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