The Art and Science of Passive-Aggressive Blog Posts


Screen shot 2013-01-27 at 12.55.12 PMA good friend of mine was asked to write a blog post for his company’s website. It was an honor to be asked.

He could have written about employee engagement. He could have discussed metrics. He possesses the ability to write about his passion for the business.

What did he write about?

  • He threw his boss under the bus for a petty incident that happened a few weeks ago.

Before I could respond with feedback, my friend wrote back and said that the editor pulled it. Thank god because it was awful. Just ridiculous. And dangerous for his career.

There is an art and a science to castrating your boss — or your colleagues — in a public forum. Let me show you how it’s done.

  1. Speak to universal truths. The best blog posts are aimed at a specific person but speak to bigger themes that cut across race, class and gender. Are you the victim of uncivilized behavior at work? Did someone do you wrong? Don’t focus on a character. Speak to the broader behaviors that define the character. Your readers are smart. They know where you are going.
  2. Hone the fine art of obfuscation. You can’t just change a few details — name, gender — and expect that the main character won’t recognize herself. When I write about my family, I might be writing about my coworkers. When I write about coworkers, I might be writing about members of my homeowners association. Make the main character specific enough to have a face but universal enough for your readers to say, “Hey, I know that guy.”
  3. Time is an asset. You can’t write a passive-aggressive blog post about anything that happened in the last six months. It doesn’t work. You need distance from the experience. Give yourself six months so you can come back to an event and speak to universal truths.

What you really want with a passive-aggressive post is plausible deniability. And plausible deniability will keep you from getting fired.

Do you really want to lose your job over a meaningless blog post?

(No. No you don’t.)

That is a universal truth right there.

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