Monday, April 16, 2007


About a month ago, I was working for a tea blog which will not be named. I was not being paid but saw this as a chance for bigger and better things. Initially, I was all jazzed to go on the deal because I am very knowledgeable about herbs et cetera and felt that I had a lot to contribute with my information. So I patiently learned WordPress, a content management system. Even with the organization's s-l-o-w satellite uplink, this did not deter me.

The trouble started when I asked the publishers if they were going to accept herbal teas, excuse me, tisanes . This did not go well with my employers. Green tea, and only green tea, they dictated. I had also naively wrote in my biography that I enjoy rooibos tea and white tea with lots of honey. This was immediately nixed because they saw sweeteners as unhealthy. Despite my knowledge of honey as having anti-bacterial properties and as safe to use except for infants and those with depressed immune systems for some incidents of botulism poisoning, I agreed with my employers' wishes. I didn't mention stevia as a possibility. Honey bad, plain green tea good. Hookay.... I could accept that. White tea was on the edge. I'm living dangerously now to have sweeteners in my leaves. On my side of the Internet, I started to rebel. I shamelessly drank rooibos with globs of honey. I put away a plastic bearful in a month.

Meanwhile, as an editor, my photo reporter was less than present. I basically was editing, proofreading, posting, and doing photo editing for the whole site. And getting rather cranky. I one day asked one of the publishers if I could participate in a tea tasting. My employer said that if there was leftovers, I could have some. Ouch. I was hurt that, especially since I was the blog's editor, I should participate in the site's activities.

I was further injured when the same employer asked at what times I posted and edited comments. I replied that I had, before the e-mail to me, edited and created several articles for future posting and already had them in WordPress' queue. The employer insisted on knowing the times but I could not give the publisher a single answer because I was up at the wee hours of the morning fighting the blog's (on their end) snail-paced uplink. While that was a legitimate question, the employer did not acknowledge that I had edited twenty-five comments for error that day and was ahead on the posts. Still, I was willing to keep at the job.

Then, I made a fatal mistake or perhaps the publishers did. One of the people on the board had asked about hydration and whether or not tea was a good drink to take on a hike. Innocently, I looked for data for the person who made the query and I posted my findings. One of the publishers sent me a flaming e-mail to ream me out that I did not know what I was talking about when I discussed hydration. I had favoured water. The publisher was very upset that unintentionally on my part, but with my intent in the view of the employer, gone against that person in a comment on the blog. I had posted before the employer, not after.

I had to take a several deep breaths before I could write a very polite resignation letter. I was running the whole site with accurate edits and posts. I was not illiterate about green tea as my employers thought. I had been an, admittedly hobbyist, herbalist for about twenty years. I know enough to realize what flora is dangerous or illegal. Never take pennyroyal. Green tea is no different in having knowledge about it because it is just a medicinal plant. I trusted my knowledge and my smarts and I quit. When I accept another job or offer, it damn well better come with respect.And lots of honey.

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