I am a developer by profession and like to log or make a note of what I do or if I found something exciting or any solution to any issue - either in my diary or blog for my reference in future.

While working at my primary work after completing all the assigned work to me I was in middle of making notes for my reference by writing a post in my blog. But one of my senior who has spent about 25 years in this industry gave me a statement that the company doesn't give you money to blog your personal stuff! I replied saying that "it can be helpful for our team and can be a resource to refer in some cases. Company doesn't offer any common space to share or a forum to discuss so I use online platform to write stuff". But my senior ended the discussion there itself by saying the same statement.

Is it not right to log/write something useful when you are at work as a note or a lesson learned - which can be helpful for future to an individual or to a group? How do you manage this?

  • @JoeStrazzere The guy was senior to me and just said that you don't get paid to write article for your personal blog. Oct 17 '13 at 18:21
  • 9
    Hi, I'm enderland, and posting on StackExchange at work. Don't fire me please!!
    – enderland
    Oct 17 '13 at 18:25
  • 3
    Don't call it a blog, but call it a white-paper. Then all is well.
    – Dunk
    Oct 17 '13 at 22:21

As noted in comments and Joe Strazzere's answer, to get the definitive answer to this, you need to check with your employer. If this "senior" is not your supervisor, this may be nothing more than their personal opinion. However, now that something has been said, it would be wise to learn the actual facts. There may be an organizational policy of which you aren't aware that prohibits personal blogging. Alternatively, this just may be something your boss feels strongly about.

It seems you may not understand why such activity would be prohibited, so I'll suggest a few reasons:

  • If your blog generates any personal income for you through advertisements or other means, there may be a conflict of interest. For example, if you work (whether directly or through a service company) for a governmental agency, there may be prohibitions against using governmental resources for personal gain.

  • There may be concerns that you would divulge trade secrets or information which would be negative for your employer, such as being behind schedule.

  • Management may simply feel that you should be putting your efforts into your assignments.

  • While it doesn't seem to be the case here, maybe there are already approved documentation means available that you do not know about. If there are such, you should learn about and use them.

While you may need to move carefully here, this could be an opportunity for you. Make certain that there are not already approved documentation methods available within your organization. You could then investigate such tools (content management systems, document management systems, wikis, etc.), test some, and then make a recommendation as to what you find works best. You may need to work on this on your own time initially, especially if you do not get prior approval for such research.

To address the actual question:

Is it not right to log/write something useful when you are at work as a note or a lesson learned - which can be helpful for future to an individual or to a group? How do you manage this?

It is (usually) not inherently wrong to document what you do and how you deal with problems you encounter. (I say "usually" because there are places that don't want to be bothered with such, and maybe some places where they don't want to leave anything that could be found.) That said, some methods of documentation may not meet with universal approval, as you seem to be finding. As alluded to above, much of the reason for concern is who might be able to see the documentation. Keeping notes on paper is usually okay. Text or word processor documents have rarely caused problems to my knowledge, but I have known of a couple people who got in trouble for leaving paper copies of such documentation in places where someone found the document who wasn't meant to see it. Putting something on a public web site potentially opens your notes to anyone on the World Wide Web, thus management may feel they need to be very concerned with what is said.

My work place has internal wikis and CMS systems for documentation. I have also maintained a personal blog through my last couple jobs. I keep notes for reporting purposes, as well as to have as a future reference should I need to refresh my memory about previous work I did. However, that blog has no links to it, has settings to prevent indexing by search engines, and is password protected


Is it not right to log/write something useful when you are at work as a note or a lesson learned - which can be helpful for future to an individual or to a group? How do you manage this?

For many years, I have used a blog as a repository of useful information - first solely for myself, then to share with others within and outside of my company.

At work, I mostly dump data and notes to my blog in an unpublished state. It's quick, easy, and painless. It uses almost no work time. Then, from home I polish up the posting a bit and publish it. At any one time, I have dozens of unpublished articles. Some of them stay unpublished for a long time, some forever.

I've only worked at one shop which prohibited occasional blog posting while at work. In that case, I just emailed my notes to my personal email account and blogged from home.

To know what is and isn't permitted at your specific company, the answer is simple - ask your boss.

  • Additionally, when you ask your boss - explain why you keep the blog, and that it's useful as reference material for yourself.
    – user10911
    Oct 18 '13 at 7:48
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    Exactly what I do - I email home with notes and then at some point, maybe get round to writing it up.
    – Michael
    Oct 18 '13 at 9:22

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