To follow up my post about Mercenary I spoke with Drew Townson on Saturday, but did not have time to post because of the St. Patrick's Day festivities over the weekend. Drew told me he was new to the blogosphere and that his blog was really just a test blog, and that his original intention was to create a blog that benefited Mercenary. When he learned Mercenary was not interested allowing him to create a blog linking to the company website he created a test blog with no connections to Mercenary. He was not trying to hide the blog from Mercenary. Drew told me he had been in the professional audio business for 20 years and it never occurred that he could not use his own intellectual property in the creation of a personal blog.
When he received the news that he had been fired it was a complete shock, he had no indication that there had been any management unhappiness about his work at the company. Initially when he first heard the message from the company he thought it might be a joke, and when he called the office he asked if the message was a joke, but to his dismay he discovered it was not. Mercenary is disputing his request for unemployment. He is considering his options for proving his case for unemployment.
Drew told me he thought the way the message about being let go from Mercenary was unconscionable, and that the company could have waited until he returned from paternity leave to tell him face to face. He wished the company had not fired him in such a brutal way.
He has received a lot of support from the community, including some job opportunities. But does need more support from the community. Lastly, Drew told me that he in no way intended to cause any harm to Mercenary, that he did not think he harmed Mercenary in anyway, and that he did a great job with the customers.
Drew also sent me a copy of his blog post, which rather than reproduce on this blog post because of its length, you can read the updated version on Drew Townson's blog.
For both companies and employees the consequences of writing content on the web can have unforeseen consequences, which is why in today's world of blogs, forums and websites it is important for both employers and employees to have a clear understanding of what is expected by all parties.
The consequences for Drew Townson have been very dramatic, rather than celebrating the joy of his new baby, Drew and his wife have had to worry about his job prospects. While Mercenary faces long term reputation management issues. Conduct a search on the keywords Mercenary Audio and several articles appear in the top ten of the Google results that reference the story. There is even a Search engine optimization reputation management company that has referenced the story as a case study. The company is also running google Adwords ads on the keywords "Mercenary Audio", obviously aimed at Mercenary Audio and those professionals who conduct a search on the keywords. I don't know what the long term consequences of the discussion about Mercenary will be, but one way to reduce the company's exposure caused by the firing might be to not fight the unemployment request by Drew and also provide some sort of severance package for Drew while he looks for work. I hope that cooler heads will prevail and that it is realized that sometimes inaction can actually hurt more than action in cases like this.