On getting personal

Getting personalLast week I pondered how to give shape to this blog now that my career break is officially over, and one of you suggested I try and answer the question of whether the purpose of the blog is as a professional calling card, or something more personal. A really useful thing to consider. I think the personal nature of this blog is its strength – and that goes for most blogs I read and like. You get a little window on someone’s world, someone that you don’t know or perhaps just don’t know in that way, and that’s what draws you in. Reading a blog is not the same as reading a collection of short stories, or a cookbook, an autobiography, or anything else that’s been carefully worked over by editors and publishers. The blog’s charm is that it’s slightly rough round the edges, might go off-topic here and there, and that occasionally something raw and true shines through.

At the same time, this blog has never been anonymous: as you can see to the left of this post, my name is quite clearly visible. And yes, that is my actual name. That means that anyone putting me into Google will probably land on this site sooner or later, despite the fact I have paid no heed to all the spammers peddling their SEO services on WordPress. Therefore, as well as my mum, my brother, my auntie, my work colleagues and that bloke I just met down the pub, anyone who might consider employing me in the future can easily find everything I write here.

I sometimes wish that I could disregard altogether the fact that other people will read what I write, and just see what comes out unfiltered. I admire people who apply that kind of ‘devil may care’ approach to their writing, particularly if they write non-anonymous blogs (I don’t have a lot of time for anonymous bloggers whose ‘selling point’ is being rude about everything). But as an inveterate beater-about-the-bush who cares excessively about what other people think, I inevitably apply a filter to my writing. I don’t write things that could be hurtful to a particular individual, or that might make people think I am feckless, irresponsible, unhinged, or irrational. Well, not too much anyway. Because I am all of those things, and so are most people – and writing frankly about one’s insecurities and idiosyncrasies should not automatically mean that no one will want to employ you. Well, that’s what I’m hoping anyway.

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5 thoughts on “On getting personal

  1. The personal nature of your posts is what I like most about it! But I understand the need to be careful of what you say. It’s one of the reasons why I decided to stop blogging on my career change path – I wasn’t sure if it made me come across as flaky and indecisive. I also didn’t want prospective employers knowing so much personal stuff about me before I’d even met them…!

    • Hi Charmaine, thank you and thanks for your tweet earlier. Really cheered me up on a Monday morning 🙂 I was wondering what had happened to your blog – but have to say that you by no means came across as flaky and indecisive! More brave, and human, I would say. I keep telling myself that employers are humans too, and reading some personal stuff shouldn’t necessarily bias them against me. It’s a risk, though, and one I will have to keep bearing in mind! I sometimes do get a bit shy and embarrassed when someone tells me they’ve read my blog and I remember the personal ramblings they will have read. Stupid, really…

  2. I think it depends on the job, too. And if the job/career path is more artistic or relies on a person’s, well, personality and personableness, then a blog is a great way to determine if someone is a good fit – and a great way to showcase your winning personality and honesty 🙂 Since my blog started as a way to work out what I was going through on stress leave from work, I had to make it anonymous. And, working in the public service, it would not serve me well to show my personality and my creativity. But then for me, it’s nice to have my blog to escape to – it’s where I find the real me 🙂

    • Absolutely – couldn’t agree with you more. And I totally get why yours is anonymous, too. I think my view is that, if an employer reads my blog and thinks ‘I don’t want to employ this person’, then would I really want to work for them anyway?? I know that might be a bit naive – but, well, it’s a bit late now so I’ll just have to roll with it 😉

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