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Disgruntled Ex-Employees and the Internet
August 16, 2001
10:40 pm
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gingerleigh
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Interesting situation occurred today, I'm not entirely sure how to handle it, perhaps others have seen something like this...

The economy is not so great right now, and a lot of companies are using layoffs as a means to cut costs and stay within budgets. My company was no exception. We've had a few rounds already, and thankfully I do still have a job. However, people close to me have been laid off over the last few months, and it's been difficult to keep morale and support friends as they unexpectedly re-enter the job market.

Today, I was sent a link to a web site put together by an anonymous (of course!) ex-employee who is trashing the company, and my department head in particular. The posts have already started to get ugly and vicious, and are attacking both the intelligence and integrity of people who still work here. Names of old employees are being used as "logins" into the site, to lend it more "credibility". It is obvious.

I have my suspicions on who the site owner is, but can't prove it... as bizzarr-o as this sounds, I'm positive that it is my ex-husband. (We both used to work at this company.) Incidentally, he and our department head *hated* each other. And now, some of the threads are making insinuations about me in particular, accusations that I'm a loose immoral woman who sleeps with all of her coworkers. (At this point, the only coworker I had slept with was my ex-husband who *was* my husband at the time!!! Does that make me immoral? Hmph!)

The entire department has seen the site, and the link has spread through the company like wildfire. Everyone who sees it just shakes their head and chalks it up to a disturbed and childish individual, and that we should just ignore it.

It is horribly embarassing to me, and although I know that the people that I respect in my career and personal life don't believe one word of it, it's still so hurtful to me. I have put my blood, sweat and tears into building this company, and then to have someone attack it in this manner rips the heart out of me.

Does anyone have any words of wisdom on how to deal with this, or rationalize it, or lessen the impact of the posts? My company will not respond to something this ridiculous, which is appropriate. Professionally speaking, my position is that I am going to "ignore" it. But personally, what should I do when I try to go to sleep at night???

August 18, 2001
4:21 pm
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Anitasis
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I don't really have any words of wisdom for you. I can share with you what I would do if I were presented with the situation and you can take it with a grain of salt if you'd like; after all, I can only speculate as to what I would do.
First of all, I commend you for having the professional courage you've grounded yourself on. Obviously your employee thinks well of you to continue your employment this far- through 2 rounds. This is where I am in a Netjob. Corporate world dictates: we listen. On Friday we went through our 3rd layoff and I beat the odds. Along with the layoff announcement, came a promise to pull together harder and even tighter than before. Our GM announced our team plan and promised a raise on our next checks. I do not know how much of a raise. There will be meetings with each person's supervisor for apraisals and goal setting.
We are all feeling sad for those who have left. Some of them were "the best". Some "the ones who weren't exactly my cup of tea". So I have felt the sadness and the hope of new beginnings 3 times in less than 2 years. Some past employees have deep resentments and some even with their own reasons for moving on. One of the staff's ex husband (not unlike yours)stalked her on the phone and she had to change addresses and phone numbers because he too traveled on the net with his version of her reputation. Anyone with any amount of professional intelligence knows a person who attacks another's character and even waves a flag for the word to spread is not to be taken seriously. I would gather evidence and prosecute for slander. I don't know if there are grounds for it or if anyone would take it seriously. Even tho the net provider may have disclaimers on their client agreement, they may help you if you report the abuse. If I were the person across the hall from your office, I'd treat you kindly for extra support and hope you get the scum to stop this abuse. But I'd do it discretely in my personal life as much as possible.
I cannot see myself judging YOU for HIS behavior. I'd support my collegue in doing anything and everything SHE can do to stop this assault on her integrity. I would try to find ways to regain my power in subdued yet effective ways. Both of these employees in my company are skilled IT pros so they have equal knowledge of the internet and it's capabilities. On this one, I'd give myself a nic name in a site and find a way to outdo his site or announcements. Maybe a Rebuttle site describing his worse behavior only add a little spice to your site that tells the world how great you really are. I'd pull up my boot straps and create a killer site that out does his. Maybe a music site or one that appeals to his interests and let it all hang out annonymous yet a great site to be. Make a game of it so to speak. Regain your power he has taken from you and smile along the way to understand your own strengths. Good Luck! I support whatever decision you choose to do to make your life more serene.

August 20, 2001
1:04 pm
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gingerleigh
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Thank you Anitasis! 🙂

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