It’s not something I’ve been doing intentionally, though my long silence on this blog might suggest otherwise. No, the dearth of posts is due to other factors: workload, bike rides, moving across the continent. But, particularly being in a (perpetual) “proto-career” phase in my life, whether or not I should open my mouth is something I’ve spent some time thinking about. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I want to start using this space to bad mouth all the people who might one day employ me (those could never employ me are another story…). But, as anyone still very far from a seemingly ungraspable career will know, opening your mouth can be a dangerous thing and opening your mouth into the archival void of the internet is more risky still.
No matter what field you’re in, there are bloggers, career counselors and outspoken dentists to warn you against saying the wrong thing in any kind of public forum. You will pigeon-hole yourself, they caution, give people a false sense that they know you and a propensity to be disappointed when your real-life self doesn’t live up to the persona they’ve imagined for you. Worst, you might offend someone in a position of power—the online equivalent to inadvertently sleeping with the boss’s beautiful robot daughter. And yet, this same cadre of folks is just as likely to encourage you to start a blog (well, perhaps not your condescending dentist). As I’ve said before, an online presence is increasingly seen to be a part of one’s marketable package of distinguishing characteristics, both on the job market and in life. The advice then seems to be: say something, say it well, but beware! Presumably one is supposed to anticipate and avoid those tracks of thought that might intimidate, offend or otherwise give the wrong impression. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t say to the face of a curious Googler, or your mother, I suppose. » Read the rest of this entry «