Saturday, May 19, 2007

Personal vs Professional

I belong to a number of writer's forums and groups. Over the last few days, there have been rumblings about changes being made over at Triskelion Publishing. It seems as though they are restructuring the company and doing away with their print division. That sucks for some Trisk authors, who thought they'd have print books coming out and instead have only e-books. Now, there's nothing wrong with e-books. I have two out myself. But when an author has put time and money into promoting a print title, and that printing is cancelled, well I can see why an author would be upset. I know I would be.

But, that's not really what prompted this post. Rather, it was something I'd seen on another blog regarding the changes at Triskelion. It seems one of the higher-ups posted an email to a private group as a way of explaining the nature of some of Trisk's problems. However, this email contained rather private information - family related and quite detailed - about this higher up and why she was having difficulty in her job.

The loop consisted of up to 300 people. For the life of me, I can't understand why you'd air your family's dirty laundry on a professional loop, for 300 people to see. I can certainly understand wanting to explain why things were getting rocky, but why give so much detail? Especially when there is no guarantee that it will never leave that loop.

This post is proof that privacy is not a guarantee when something is placed in writing and sent in such a way as that it might be forwarded. Forwarded to people who have no business seeing it, and sent by people who have no business sending it.

I can understand that maybe this person felt that the company was like a family, but one should never let the lines between business and personal blur. I write for a small press. I can understand how easy it is to confuse the two when it seems as if you share so much with these people already. I know a few personal things about my editor, but that's it. Which is fine with me. I don't want to know anything too personal. And I would hope that she doesn't expect to hear anything too personal about me, because that won't happen. I am a private person by nature, but I would also not want to write something that might come back to haunt me.

Business and personal should not mix. I work with my editor. But she isn't my friend and I don't expect her to be my friend. That's not how such a relationship should work. It's poor judgment to air family secrets, even if it is only to explain why such-and-such happened.

It is far too easy for someone with very little sense of decency to simply hit Forward and wham! your secrets are out there for anyone to see. Sure, maybe this woman thought no one would do such a thing. But that is a bit naive, simply because though they might have seemed like a family, it quickly became apparent that not all shared that sentiments.

Triskelion, like all publishing houses, has happy authors, but they have disgruntled authors as well. Had this woman taken that into account, she probably never would have hit the send button. Had she stepped back and really thought about the possibility that her note would go beyond the loop, she probably would have thought twice before sending it to anyone. I wonder now if she's banging her head against the desk - now that a great deal more than those 300 people have seen the problems in her personal life.

I have not read her email. I don't care to. I know the gist of it from discussions I've seen in other forums. I feel for this woman. I've dealt with her and she was quite professional. I was shocked to see what she'd sent to this loop. I hope it doesn't continue to haunt her. I'd hate to see one slipup in judgment wreck her credibilty in what she does. That seems terribly unfair, yet it is already harming her to some extent.

Please, think twice before you send out something personal. Take a look. Think it over. Imagine how you might feel, should it go beyond its intended recipient.

No comments: