Friday, December 12, 2008

A cautionary tale.

Yesterday I showed up to work five minutes early, giant yellow purse packed with all the essential tools of my trade, eyeliner carefully applied, blazer jauntily buttoned. "Boy, I sure am a picture of responsibility and professionalism," I thought as I looked at my put together self in the bathroom mirror. "Who wouldn't hire me? I am clearly amazing."

"Good morning, Claire," my editor said to me.

"Good morning, Kate," I cheerfully replied.

"Are you enjoying your internship?"

"Why yes, it is going fantastically," I said. "You will notice that I emailed you all three 850 word articles last evening at 5:30. Would you like to assign me some other work to do while you read them? Or shall I just bask in the anticipation of praise, like a puppy waiting for a tummy rub?"

"So you're really enjoying your internship?" She pressed, smiling knowingly.

"Why, of course I am. Ha, ha, ha. Hard work, federal politics, not having to deal with all those pesky tax forms since I don't get paid, who wouldn't?"

"Because I found your blog."

Heart stops.

Jaw drops.

Hockey buzzer goes off in head as I frantically try to remember exactly what I said in my most recent posts.

"I have this Google alert thing set up..."

Crap. Last week's quarter life crisis where I reassessed my career path. Being less than thrilled about fact checking stories on fertilizer policy at midnight.

"And it tells me every time the name of the newspaper gets posted online..."

OH CRAP. Gin buckets. Saying the House Curator's job is to scrape gum off historical objects.

"And so it emailed me when your posts came up..."

CRAP. CRAP. Asian prostitution. Drug tourism. How did I manage to fit all these things in one post?

"They were funny. You're a good writer."


"Here's your pay equity story back. My edits are in bold."

And so I stared at the computer, trying to make sense of what had just happened, picking up the pieces of my sense of identity as a together, unflappable intern. I mean, editing my pay equity story.

Yes, I know that anyone can find what I write on this blog. And I've definitely been playing fast and loose with my usual rule, which is if I can think of anyone I wouldn't want to read it, don't write it. But I didn't know that it was as if I was emailing my blogs to my boss every time I wrote the name of the paper (which, yes, I am carefully avoiding using).

It could have been a lot worse, that's for damned sure. So let this be a lesson to you. A cautionary tale, if you will. I'm ramping up my standards. Not only will I not write anything if there's anyone I wouldn't want to read it, I will assume it is getting emailed to everyone and everything mentioned.

Dear Kate:

If you are reading this, I really did enjoy my internship at your fine newspaper. I feel that my unintentional candidness gives you a more well rounded and honest perspective of my performance. Also, now you know how hard I worked. If you hire me in the summer, I promise I will not blog about pieing politicians or mention the name of your publication and Asian hookers in the same post again.

I look forward to working with you in the future.


Claire Brownell.


The Science Manly said...

Wow Claire ... you certainly have taught me a valuable lesson. I will NOT post the name of my newly begun apprenticeship on my blog for that reason.

So, thank you.

But, the silver lining ... at least she liked your blog!!!!

ust like all the rest of us :)

The Peach said...

Oh my god, that is terrifying. Thank god you keep your blog semi-professional? Kind of? More than mine, anyway. If my editor found mine...well...god help us all.