Drawing a line between personal and professional lives

Journalism students at Western University have been cautioned against interning at the popular radio show Q hosted by Jian Ghomeshi because of an inappropriate incident in 2012 with a female intern and are now speaking out. In light of this and allegations from nine women against the now-former CBC radio host, the matter of personal life vs. professional life has sparked debate everywhere. Should a person’s personal life be connected with their professional life or should we be free to maintain two versions of ourselves?



We go to work and do what is expected of us for a portion of the day and when we’re finished, we head home. Once the door is closed and we’re in the comfort of our personal space, our decisions should be just that, personal.

Our personal lives and our professional lives are separate, illegal or harmful behaviour cannot be condoned. Those are not cases of professional vs. personal but of right vs. wrong and that is not what this article is about.

In the case of Jian Ghomeshi, his termination was questionable. After allegations that Ghomeshi caused physical harm to women became public, he offered the CBC videotapes of him engaging in rough yet consensual sexual activities with a woman, he says. A source told the Toronto Star that the reason Ghomeshi provided such evidence to the CBC was to prove “how bruising could happen and it could still be consensual.”

There is a diverse range of sexual acts and intensities in this world, which include role-playing, bondage and restraint. Some of these can be rough but who are we to judge a person’s interests.

If someone in a respectable position, such as the CEO of a reputable company, were to be exposed as someone who was interested in such acts, it should have no affect on their job title. Who are we to personally judge someone on their private actions, let alone combine it with their professional status?

In late 2011 an assistant water polo coach for a California high school was fired after photos on his Facebook were anonymously mailed to the school’s principal. The pictures were of the assistant coach, Mitch Stein, posing with two drag queens and another one of him about to eat a corn dog.

These photos weren’t illegal, they weren’t slanderous to his employers and they definitely weren’t grounds for firing, yet he lost his job all because of his choice of friends and his lifestyle.

In Michigan, a grade school teacher’s aide was fired after she refused to hand over the password to her private Facebook account to her supervisors.

Since when has personal property become free game for our place of employment?

When it comes down to it, most people work to live so why should we have to alter who we are in our personal lives to accommodate our source of income?




We openly display everything we do on a day-to-day basis with the help of technology that’s so readily available at the tips of our fingers.

When you’re a public figure, the spotlight on you is amplified and the public is looking at you constantly, watching your every move and in some cases, just waiting for you to fall.

Everything that you do reflects on the people that you work for or the corporation you represent.

Public figures, more often than not, are exposed to the world with people eagerly waiting for the next big scandal or story. There are people digging deeper to get the scoop.

Sure, you’ll hear about so-and-so’s next movie gig or big game or what they had for breakfast or see a nice photo of their family, and of course, those things are personal, but it shouldn’t be associated with your professional life.

In the case of Jian Ghomeshi, should he have been fired for having a kinky sex life? No, of course not.

That is a part of his personal life, but the accusations of abuse made against him are serious.

This aspect of his life has been aired to the public and causing nine women to come claiming that Ghomeshi was abusive toward them.

The CBC’s firing of Ghomeshi is justified, simply because keeping him, despite these accusations and allegations, taints the image of the company.

The recent case of Ray Rice and his abuse of his fiancée at the time caused Rice to be released by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL. His actions reflect on the NFL and the NFL was justified in handling the situation the way that they did.

If they hadn’t, it would make the NFL look bad and make it seem as though they’re ignoring the fact that one of their players did something that he shouldn’t have.

Slava Voynov from the L.A. Kings was also indefinitely suspended from the NHL after he was accused of domestic abuse. Again, the accusations taint the image of the NHL and they’re waiting until the truth comes out before taking further action.

The things that you do won’t always be associated with just you, but with the people around you and the company that you work for.