Sunday, October 04, 2009

Dishonesty is sometimes the best policy

There is an interesting discussion going on at the moment over on the Writers Group at BlogCatalogue regarding honesty in writing. The author of the post was alerted to this subject via a blog post that she came across contemplating both sides of this issue, as both a reader and a writer. As a reader, she felt misled, and somewhat betrayed, when she discovered that a writer she admired appeared not to have been telling the whole truth, yet when she examined her own writing she had to admit that she hadn't either. It can be a very fine line, as I discovered myself not that long ago.
When I first began this blog three or more years ago, the aim was to write about my experiences with print on demand publishing, in the hope that this might help others considering the same path. As time went on, more of my personal life began to creep in, which was difficult to avoid, since I had a lot going on with regard to my paid nine to five job at that time. I also saw it as a major obstacle standing in the way of my writing success, which I was very resentful of. In retrospect I was maybe a little too honest, as I made the mistake of writing about my work in too much detail. So much detail that when my then employer discovered what I had written, I was suspended from work, and eventually forced to leave. It was a difficult time and a harsh lesson that I had to learn.
The reason my employer was so upset was not because of veiled references to the company name or the products that they sold (which were admittedly there), but because I wrote in great detail about how I felt with regard to certain actions or rather inaction's that the company took and about how it made me feel. If I had written a blog saying what a wonderful company they were to work for and how happy I was in my job then they would have had no reason to get upset, but because I told the truth they became worried that if the wrong people read this, their reputation would suffer. Honesty then in my case was not the best policy.
On the other hand, I had been putting off leaving for a long time before they discovered what I had done (which came about ironically because of someone else's dishonesty), humming and harring over what I wanted to do next, so maybe this was the universe's way of forcing me out. This seems to have been a pattern in my life, whereby I stay in a job becoming more and more miserable and knowing that I should leave until I am made redundant or something else happens to force me to leave. This is a pattern, which I am pleased to say is now well and truly broken.
I admit that when I look at those posts now (they have since been moved to another blog and heavily edited), they make very compulsive reading, as you can feel the pain and the depth of the emotions leaping off the page. No employer wants to be told in such stark terms how their behaviour affects their employees health, so this must have been painful for them to read. Still, it is all water under the bridge now. I have learnt my lesson and moved on.
It does though go to show that sometimes dishonesty or at best a touch of white wash, is the best policy, as total honesty doesn't pay the bills. Fortunately, my new job does.

1 comment:

Nadine Laman said...

Interesting post, June. I tend to go for honesty, if not full disclosure.