What’s the problem with your employer?

Next week I am going to do a presentation at a big event for the IT industry in Norway. I am going to talk about new technologies, trends in social media and how consumers and employers gain more control.

About why you should let your employers blog. How IM and social networks can be important tools and so on.

Before I finish my presentation I would like to hear what my readers have to say. Do you have any stories to share?

Am I the only one with the “mailbox is over the size limit”-problem at work?

Are they banning certain sites or services?

Do you feel that you have the tools and flexibility you need?

Is it good for your CV to have a popular blog?

Any thoughts you might have!

You can be completely anonymous when posting comments here. There will be a lot of CTOs and CEOs in the audience. Let us teach them how we want to work.

What’s the problem with your employer?

19 thoughts on “What’s the problem with your employer?

  1. If you could pull together a environment with MUTUAL RESPECT and FREEDOM, neither you or your boss needs the be PARANOID!

    Why the hell should empolyees or employers need to worry about if their mail/use of the web is being check or have a worry of what the employees are using the mail/web in appropriate ways?

    There will alway be peoples that do things wrong, but that have to be dealt with in other ways than with paranoya (or how it’s spelt).

    So to put it short – You trust me! I trust you!

  2. Because of my blog, employer found me. If I wasn’t writing a blog i would still be sitting at home with no money, but the employer found my blog, saw that i can do PHP, employed me, and now i have brand new iMac :D

  3. Working in IT having a (som what) popular blog have been a great thing for my carer and personal development.. I’ve gotten quite a few job offerings and projects through having a strong online pressence.

    I havent had any major limitations laid upon me by my employeer, but I have several co-workers who have been working on different projects where services like Flickr, GMail, GTalk, MSN Messenger, Facebook and so on are blocked…

    Personally I’ve consolidated all my different e-mail addresses into one address running on Google Apps for your Domain (Google now handle all my e-mail). So if I lost access to GMail it would be a major productivity setback for me, as I’m an active member of several programming related e-mail lists I use to get information, tips and help when I’m stuck in my everyday job…

    Working as a consultant having access to your co-workers on MSN is allso an important thing, as we’re all spread across multiple projects at different companies.

    Best regards,

    Jonas Follesø
    Senior Consultant
    Capgemini, Trondheim

  4. Without Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, del.icio.us, IM and gmail, I would be running at 40% speed. My network of smart people around the world is one of my biggest assets. If I can’t answer or solve what’s in front of me myself, my contacts can.

    Companies that stop people using social networks, external web services and IM, don’t get this.

    On the other hand, if people spend 30% of their day uploading their kitten pics on Facebook, I understand why some bosses are concerned. But – wouldn’t these people just be playing solitaire instead if they didn’t have Facbook?

    So the problem has been turned on it’s head: Companies stop people using Facebook because they waste time on the web. But what’s the matter with the job, if it’s so boring that you are Facebooking all day instead? Start by making jobs and enviroments where people LOVE to work, and let them use the tools they want.

  5. Harald Staff says:

    We can’t use that because it doesn’t have a web interface
    We can’t use that because we didn’t stress test it
    We can’t use that because it is made for something else
    We can’t use that because it’s not dotnet
    We can’t use that because we use something else
    We can’t use that because we have a contract with the competition
    We can’t use that because it’s not standard
    We can’t use that because some of our engineers said it wasn’t good enough
    We can’t use that because then we’d be responsible for support
    We can’t use that because there may be some complications we don’t know of yet
    We can’t use that because our competition doesn’t and what does that tell us
    We can’t use that because it is ugly
    We can’t use that because it costs nothing
    We can’t use that just because you claim that you need it

    (My employer is actually pretty cool about these things, these are just fragments out of context. But real quotes they are)

  6. eirikso says:

    Lasse:
    Mutal respect and freedom is key. Freedom _and_ a responsibility.

    Jonas:
    Working as a consultant, have you experienced that any of your clients are putting restrictions on you?

    Oyvind:
    “But – wouldn’t these people just be playing solitaire instead if they didn’t have Facbook?”
    …guess so… :-)

    Harald:
    “We can’t use that because some of our engineers said it wasn’t good enough”
    …that’s a classic!

  7. Francis says:

    Social networking and collaboration are not new behaviours, they have just been set free in an exciting manner thanks to the internet (standards).

    And so, horizontal organizations — ones that you can traverse across, without going up, across and then down — are here to stay. Managers are fighting it, after all they are being taken out of the equation; while leaders are encouraging it — helps them focus on leading rather than managing.

    I suspect that ignorance about technology and its dynamics, coupled with fear for losing control are at the heart of restrictions that I have experienced (as I suppose most networkers also do). Education in two steps can help a lot (a) educating the organisation on what these technologies are and (b) allowing for discourse on how these technologies can be used in the organisation.

    So, go ahead and ask the CTOs and CEOs in the audience if they have actually lined up “The Top 10 things I want new technology to address”. The world is flat and getting flatter by the day, the CxO of the future is like a cocktail host/hostess. S/he sets up the refreshments and entertainment and then walks around linking guests to each other … and then moving on to link the next group.

  8. So far I’ve been lucky with my clients, and haven’t had any (serious) limitations layd upon me. At my current client I’m not able to connect to IRC (blocked ports), so that’s a small bummmer….

    How ever, It’s totally okey to use Messenger, Google Talk and GMail. And like Oyvind pointed out, my network is one of my most important resources. I’ve been working on this project for two weeks now, and so far we’ve leveraged my network a bunch of times. Getting SharePoint 2007 tips from Poland, getting tips on UI patterns from India and so fourth. With out Facebook/LinkedID/MSN/GMail that would be hard to do….

    We’re knowledge workers and we need access to our knowledge base (our peers).

    How ever, I have a bunch of coworkers working at a client that blocks: Facebook, Twitter, LastFM, MSN Messenger, GMail, GTalk, IRC, Flickr, LinkedIn and more… Thankfully (for my coworkers) they haven’t blocked MSN Web Messenger, so they’re stil able to talk to the outside world ;)

  9. Henning says:

    I had a blog with quite a few critical remarks about my current emplyer. I wqas actually hired because of these. What a wonderful world :)

    Oh, and, yes, we do have a mailbox limit. But our mail system supports syncronisation and automatic re-directs. Solution: quite a few employees redirects all mail to Gmail. Now, that’s a good way to support company privacy, isn’t it?

    And my company no longer monitors web traffic. In order to enable this, my employer must have a “reason to believe” that an employee is abusing his/hers computer…

  10. Being both an employer and (infrequent) blogger I see the opportunity in both private and corporate blogging – but I also understand some of the fears that management can have towards their employees blurting it out on the internet. What if somebody posts something that is plain wrong or misleading and ends up hurting you business? Is it too much to ask from every employee that he/she should understand what is public domain and what belongs behind closed doors? (Not that I would distrust any of my employees with the power of blogging, but what if our company had a staff of 3500, not 35?)

    My blog is mostly read by customers and employees. I don’t use it to market our product but I think the openness and honesty that seems like a natural part of blogging is good for our business. And it can also be counterweight to negative publicity that finds it way online anyway (if you google “it’s learning” search result number eight is “it’s learning is crap”… ).

    I also cannot possibly imagine running my department without using IM. Keeping track with developers in st. petersburg, partners spread across Europe and the system engineers next door… It just wouldn’t be good for business!

  11. One of the most interesting examples when it comes to this is Microsoft. It is often said that this is a company you either hate or love, but I do both. The reason for not just hating it is the fact that they actually let their employees do more or less whatever they want in their blogs. Tantek Yelik – http://tantek.com – wich is one of Microsofts’ chief programmers and responsible for IE, blogs pretty harsh critics towards his employers policy towards web standars, and (among other things) publishes CSS hacks making it possible to go around for example the faulty box model in previous versions of IE. When developing IE 7 the programmers even had their own blog under the domain Microsoft.com, where they wrote pretty freely about their work, and let anyone comment upon it.

    I belive this helathy attitude from Bill Gates and his buddies in Microsofts board creates a lot of credibility. We, the critical mass, are allowed to follow the internal discussions and struggles within the world dominating software producere, making it more easy to swallow normally provoking descissions.

    Openess automatically creates trust. Politicians have known this for ages, and private companies is following. Opposites attracts, and disagreements create new thoughts and ideas, bringer the world forward.

  12. eirikso says:

    Thanks! A company selling web control products release a study saying Facebook cost companies millions. Yeah. Right. Never trust surveys from companies that want to sell you the solution to the problem that the “survey” point out.

  13. eirikso says:

    And this is very nice timing. That article is something I can use when debating these issues at the “IT-Summit” here in Tønsberg in a couple of hours… Thanks again!

    And yes. I have used quotes from this thread in my presentation that I will do in exactly 40 minutes… Finishing it right now.

  14. eirikso says:

    Reputations travel fast these days. People telling someone else that it was good should always be trusted. Thanks.

    I’ll try to hunt down the Selvaag guys at the party this evening! :-)

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