Happy ending for fired book shop 'blogger'

A SACKED bookshop worker has been headhunted by an independent bookseller attracted by the weblog entries that cost him his last job.

Joe Gordon was dismissed from his job at the Waterstone’s store at the east end of Prince’s Street for complaints made on his "blog" website, which referred to his employer as "Bastardstone’s" and spoke about his "evil boss".

Mr Gordon, who worked with the company for ten years, also complained about not getting a day off for his birthday.

Now comic book chain Forbidden Planet has headhunted him - for a managerial role dealing with the online side of the business and book and graphic novel selection.

Mr Gordon, of Newton Street, Gorgie, was previously paid 12,000 a year for his job on the shop floor in Waterstone’s.

"It’s a much better job that I’ve got now - I’ll be involved with all the decisions and will be able to work with something I love," he said. "It’s also better money."

And Mr Gordon may be asked to write his own company weblog as part of his new duties.

Forbidden Planet, which has a store on South Bridge, contacted Mr Gordon, 37, after reading his weblog and noting his interest and expertise in science fiction and graphic novels. Kenny Penman, one of the company’s founders and directors, who originally comes from Edinburgh, said he had hired Mr Gordon because of, not despite, his blogging.

He said: "We specialise in comics and sci-fi - all the stuff that Joe seemed to be into from what I read on his blog site - and the area he worked in at Waterstone’s.

"I saw his blog and, while I think it’s probably ill-advised, in front of a potential audience of four billion, to refer to your employers as bastards, I couldn’t really see a problem with it."

He added: "We thought it seemed daft to let a guy go who had all this specialist knowledge. We’ve got high hopes he will be a good acquisition for us. I think he deserves another chance."

He said he would ask Mr Gordon to write a weblog to keep people up-to-date with company business.

"He’s used to blogging, so he should be good at it," he said.

"It’s a good way of showing people what goes on in your business. It will be a sort of daily diary talking about what is happening in Forbidden Planet.

"Instead of doing less blogging, he’ll be doing more, but I don’t think he’ll be calling us the same kinds of things he called people at Waterstone’s."

Mr Gordon started work at Forbidden Planet on Valentine’s Day.

He said: "It’s just been great so far. It’s a very different experience to my previous job and everyone’s been really nice. One of the chaps down in London came looking for me and said they were looking for somebody with a background in comic books and graphic novels.

"I was headhunted by them really - just from information they found out about me from my blog.

"I was really happy to be approached by someone who appreciates me for my knowledge."

And Mr Gordon said he would be continuing his weblog, the Woolamaloo Gazette, which he started on e-mail in 1992.

"My new employers are aware of it and they’re quite happy for me to keep doing it.

"However, I will be more careful what I say in the future. I think I’ve learnt my lesson on that."

The company, which specialises in comics, science fiction, horror and fantasy, has 17 stores in the UK and a branch in New York.

Blogging, where writers can put across their point of view on their own website, has prompted a number of dismissals in the US, although Mr Gordon’s was the first in the UK, according to the TUC.

Mr Gordon is still in discussion with Waterstone’s over his appeal against unfair dismissal.

"They have been in touch recently and we’re waiting to hear any day now," he said.

"It’s in the hands of my union representative."

An airline attendant in America was sacked last year for "inappropriate images" on her anonymous blog and many large companies in the States now have "blogging policies" for their employees.

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