"The Ethicist" is Randy Cohen's long-running advice column in the New York Times. Each week, Gabriel Delahaye's "The Unethicist" will answer the same questions as "The Ethicist," with obvious differences.
In this week's mailbag, a young man recently lost his job due to poor blogging technique, and someone in Long Island is wasting our time.
I occasionally write a journal entry when I am angry or hurt. I inadvertently left two such entries, whiny but not vitriolic, on my computer at my former job, criticizing a decision by my boss. She discovered them in a folder I thought I had destroyed. She'd always given me good evaluations but now says I may not use her as a reference. Ethical? — A.J., Denver
A.J., let's get real. You can't kid a kidder. Or should I say, you can't blog a blogger. We all write journal entries when we are angry or hurt, you can tell by what our mood and music indicate at the time we post. It is called livejournal, and you are a fourteen-year-old girl. Having said all that, let me also say, "classic rookie mistake."
Complaining about your boss in a navel-gazing electronic diary is what computers were created for. That, and wasting an entire day googling "Family Ties Fan Art". But it's the 90s, bro! I could understand you accidentally getting caught bitching on your angelfire site, but if we've learned anything from the martyr Peter Chung, it's that you need to come up with a good work-safe anonymous pseudonym when talking about shitty bosses/so much pussy. Something super catchy and not gay or lame at all, like Worker #4989. NICE! (Lame.) (Also, gay.)
Of course, if you are keeping your blog in Microsoft Word format, don't. Or, at the very least, follow the lead of my friend McCullen. He and I were porn buddies during fiscal years 2004-2006. When I asked him where on his computer his porn was located so that I could delete it in the case of his untimely death, he directed me to a folder titled "NPR," inside of which was a folder titled "Fresh Air," inside of which was a folder titled "Real Audio," inside of which was his treasure trove of gay pornography, because he was gay, including this one porn in which a bunch of guys shoved a funnel into one guy's butt and took turns peeing into the funnel. Kind of like what you did to yourself by keeping your stupid livejournal on your hard-drive.
Meanwhile, I still don't understand you people who write in asking whether someone else's behavior was acceptable or not. What difference does it make now? Kid's Court was canceled years ago, and you should be spending your time looking for a new job.
My business partner and I signed personally for the cost of some equipment we bought for our company. When our company began failing, my attorney advised me to declare bankruptcy. I told my partner about this and suggested he seek similar legal protection. He chose not to. When our business finally closed, I had no personal debts, but my now ex-partner was billed for the balance of those equipment payments. He feels I owe him half. Do I? — B.K., Great Neck, N.Y.
I couldn't say for sure what you owe your former business partner, I'm no Dave Ramsey. But I can tell you what you owe me, and that is a big fucking apology. I work, OK? My life is busy. I watch The Hills. Your problems are boring, and bankruptcy is for failures. The solution is kill yourself. You lost.