Giving Up The Job For The Blog

    October 19, 2005

How far would you go to protect the company you work for? Gauriv Sabnis went above and beyond the call of duty. A blog post of his made a customer of his employer, IBM, uncomfortable. They threatened retaliation against IBM. Even though no one asked Sabnis to leave the company, he did so to protect the image of IBM.

I give a hat tip to B.L. Ochman’s What’snextblog. Most people in America today don’t have a great sense of loyalty to their jobs for various reasons. Gauriv Sabnis has an incredible sense of loyalty to IBM. In his blog, Vantage Point, he linked to a story, speaking ill of the Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM). The story and subsequent post questioned some of the advertising the IIPM had done. The IIPM comments didn’t go over so well with the IIPM.

On October 8th, Sabnis received a call from his IBM/Lenovo bosses. They said the student union at the IIPM were threatening to burn a number of ThinkPad computers. According to his blog, IBM put no pressure on him for anything. But out of his loyalty to the company, he elected to quit. This way, IBM/Lenovo wouldn’t catch the negative publicity for his posts and he could maintain his integrity for speaking his mind.

He said he’d received hundreds of emails commenting on his actions. Some see this as a freedom of speech issue and it is to an extent. Many more were flabbergasted over the reasons for ending his employment. He did it out of loyalty to his company. This type of loyalty seems to be in short order in many environments today.

In any event, this is the latest tale in employees’ blogging issues. The interesting thing is that IBM actually encourages their employees to blog and apparently, many do. But as more firings and subsequent lawsuits occur over blogging, many companies are nervous about encouraging people to blog. Companies are nervous about turning employees loose to speak their mind.

John Stith is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.