A writer’s got to write.
The discussion which circulated the class this week included the notion of ‘writing in public’ while keeping the professional realm of the world in mind. The class’ main perspective towards this topic is to stay away from anything that could denounce their reputation or highlight their weaknesses. This could include political posts, drunken photos, controversial opinions and many, many more things about themselves they were not willing to share to employers.
It is interesting how my peers mentioned they had constructed their online personas to only convey the good or safe parts of their lives, leaving out the parts they would rather not share with future employers. I found this extremely fascinating, as throughout life I was told to always be myself and that opportunity would find me.
While this discussion of what should and shouldn’t be posted was going on, I was frantically checking through my social media to see if I had posted anything embarrassing recently. The results?
I am not particularly afraid of what the future has to offer for me because I know I try my damned hardest to do well. So why should my social media or as I like to call it, my ‘public personality’ change the perception of the hard work I’ve done throughout my life? I realise that perception is reality in society, what I don’t clearly understand is what social media has to do with my work ethic, goals and aspirations or even the quality of my work.
In my opinion, vulnerability shows a deeper form of strength and I have a high respect for anyone who is willingly vulnerable. So why should someone be punished by an employer for writing personally, in public, or being themselves online when it is apart of who they are and conveys their values.
I was fortunate enough to have witnessed a speech and presentation from the great Cindy Gallop at my internship at M&C Saatchi. She encouraged people to push for diversity in the work place to inspire creativity. If there is no diversity, how can we expect to become innovative, new or even competitive with other companies?
Cindy didn’t care about my other tweets, she broke through the clutter, saw my ‘professional‘ tweet and highlighted it. Even when I am shit posting things on my Twitter from Reddit and Facebook, I can still be posting valuable items on it. It is just a bit harder to find in between all the memes. Does it make my twitter more valuable to have more of these tweets, or does it result in less substance and depth of my personality, that is, to be professional. I guess that’s the question, would you rather your professionalism to show in your social media, or have a personal element that people resonate with?
She also mentioned something which struck me as inspirational. Cindy mentioned something along the lines of not being content with a particular career or workplace; but to strive for what you feel comfortable with and what will result in your happiness. To find an employment opportunity which includes likeminded people, clients which are enjoyable working with and the right career for ME seems almost impossible. However, throughout it all, I will strive to be myself and I hope someone will take me because of this. That is what I want in an employer.
What I find interesting is that in this industry (like all industries actually) the employer has the power. For once, I would like the power to be in my hands. If they don’t want me, they won’t understand me and our work relationship will be horrible. I don’t want that.
I’m quite an honest and straight-forward person. I don’t beat around the bush too much and if you don’t like me I take it personally and will have a vindictive hate toward you like most Capricorns do. What can I say, we hold grudges, the stars told me so. If the stars told me that I would be who I am today I would laugh.
Many people are afraid of what their employers will find on their social media and tailor a persona which is ‘professional’ and does not display everything they would do in life.
My manifesto is, that if an employer would not hire ME (as to say my un-tailored online presence is me) why should they hire my ‘professional persona’ instead? I might as well admit to them that I like to go out on the weekends, that I am chronically late for everything, write up personal blog posts and live tweet the bachelor on Twitter. It’s not that they should know that I do all these things, they also have the right to know before they employ me.
I don’t like to keep secrets from people unless these secrets could damage me or the relationships that I have with people in my life of which I have written about before. So, why should I keep who I am a secret from my employers?
Personal Narrative in the Workplace
This semester, I have gained a newfound respect for those who are able to share personal stories of their own mental illness and struggles through life. The issues and ramifications associated with this type of writing in a professional setting is extremely real and is similar to online personas.
The stigma of writing with raw emotion and its attachment to weakness is extremely insensitive to those who write personal narrative in public. To read someone’s story in which they have experienced hardships is a privilege as that person has trusted you. A story should always be treated with respect as well as the writers. They are brave and should not exploited or rejected because this.
It is the authenticity of personal narrative that I have fallen in love with and its relationship, almost seamlessly, with family. When I write, I write from the heart and soul. For an employer to tell me that “It isn’t what we’re looking for.” due to my personal style of writing, would be heartbreaking and honestly, horrifying. I wouldn’t want anything to do with someone who denounces the bravery of personal storytelling.
As they do say, the pen is mightier than the sword. The sword, in this case, relating to those who don’t believe in the power of personal narrative and vulnerability and limit the sharing of their personality online or with their employers. Hence, I believe:
The personal narrative is mightier than the employer.
I’m a take it or leave it kind of guy. If you hire me, I’ll try my bloody hardest in all that I do. If you don’t because of who I am and what I write, then find someone who isn’t willing to share everything about themselves.