A reader writes:
What should one do when they find a nasty blog written about a coworker, but the horrible statements are true?
There’s a certain head of a department who I have to work with occasionally who is rude, dismissive, and just does not seem competent enough to do her job. I’ve spoken with other coworkers and they think the same of her. And she writes her emails in Comic Sans, so clearly not a person worthy of respect (I kid! Sort of…)
I googled said coworker after a very frustrating day trying to work with her (she totally screwed my team over for an international trip that she was told was high priority weeks ago) . I found a blog written about her. She’s a recruiter, and it sounds like it’s written by a candidate she worked with.
The complaints about her on the blog are similar to my complaints with her, only the blog is more scathing. I would be beyond mortified if someone wrote about me on the internet like that. In my opinion, it looks terrible for a company to have someone who’s the head of a department have this nasty blog show up as the second link when you Google her name + company (and she’s somebody who would get searched for, given her role).
The blog has been up for several months, so I’m assuming other people in the organization have seen it, even possibly her managers, and may have already dealt with it, but I’m wondering if the blog and complaints from coworkers might spur change? I don’t want to put my neck out there either though, so can I send an anonymous complaint? Casually let higher-ups know what I’ve seen? This isn’t a me or her situation or anything like that, but I’d still like to know this was addressed with her and she knows she needs to make changes to be productive within our company. So – what, if anything, can I possibly do here?
The blog itself probably won’t spur any serious change, because she’s a recruiter and it’s written by a former candidate. It’s going to be too easily passed off as the work of a bitter rejected job candidate. (And really, the fact that the person took the the trouble to create a blog about her sort of reinforces that perception. The person is almost by definition bitter.)
But it sounds like there are legitimate issues here that your employer might have an interest in knowing about and addressing (the rudeness and incompetence), and the fact that there’s a blog out there complaining about the same things could potentially be a piece of that, when it’s considered as part of that broader picture. It would be more of a side issue though — the main issue would be what you and your coworkers are seeing in working with her. You’d need that stuff to be known in order for her manager to take the blog stuff seriously; otherwise, the blog is just a loon with a grudge.
That means, though, that you and/or your coworkers would need to be willing to speak up about the problems you’re encountering in working with her, either by talking to your own manager(s), who could potentially address it with your coworker’s manager, or — depending on internal dynamics there — possibly by talking to her manager directly. If you’re not willing to do that, there’s probably no way to get this addressed.
I wouldn’t go the anonymous message route. In general, anonymous messages are rarely the correct way to handle a problem because their credibility is really low; the recipient has to wonder whether it’s a real problem or someone with an unsubstantiated ax to grind and whether they should spend time investigating (and how much time, if a first look doesn’t reveal problems?), as well as what’s up with the professionalism of the person who chose to communicate that way. I suppose you could anonymously bring the blog itself to someone’s attention (no credibility needed; sending the link would let them see that the blog exists), but like I said above, the blog on its own doesn’t convey the most important part what really needs to be conveyed here.