I wrote last week about the balance between transparency and credibility, and I’ve been mulling it over ever since. It was actually sparked by two complete posts sitting in the queue, waiting to be published. One post discusses a mistake I made at work, and how I went about fixing the mistake. The other post talks about my time when my career was flat-lined, and the job I held for most of that time. My conundrum is that, particularly on the blog, I have complete creative control… I don’t even have to bring up the “bad” stuff, and I can almost pretend that I’ve got it “perfect”. While we all know that’s not true, there’s absolutely no impetus to spur me to publish those posts, and I’m not lying to you by not publishing them. But, am I doing a disservice to all of us that have made a mistake (which, honestly, who HASN’T made a mistake at work, at least once?)? Am I doing a disservice to all those affected by the recession, thinking that they’ll never get their career moving again? There’s also the quandary about how much “personal stuff” to reveal on the blog, especially as it relates to career. Do I talk about salary and costs of my MBA? Let’s take a look at these questions!
First, regarding mistakes on the job, I’m coming to realize that I should probably just publish that post. I find it helpful when I come across these types of posts with a mistake and advice on fixing the problem, and I rarely judge the person who reveals it. Instead, particularly in real life, it helps me know that I can ask this person for advice, since they’ve probably done something similar in the past. For bloggers, I think this openness fosters a community of advice, such that we can all learn from each other and improve ourselves. If everyone only showed their “perfect” side, we’d never learn anything! If I notice that I’m making a similar mistake to my peers or fellow bloggers, I can find someone who’s already addressed this issue to ask about improving. I also think it’s healthy to bring up the subject of mistakes, since our corporate culture often shies away from taking a practical approach to those who make mistakes. It’s better to address the issue, figure out what went wrong and where it went wrong, and lay out a plan of action to ensure it doesn’t happen again. It’s also helpful to the organization if they realize that multiple people are making the same mistake, a process change might be necessary. So, my conclusion is that I’ll be publishing my mistake in the near future… hopefully at least one person will be able to learn something from my mistake.
Next, I’m realizing that I should probably publish the post about my job during unemployment. Most of my concerns about this post stem from pride, and the fear that people won’t think I’m credible. If someone takes a “lesser” job during a recession, does it prove that they’ll do whatever it takes to work and make money, or does it prove that they’re really worth less in the market? In the year or so since I’ve been in my current position, I’ve heard from a lot of people that they were unemployed, underemployed, or in some other “shameful” place in their career since the economy crashed. Some of those people are still in bad shape, and others have finally moved on to other opportunities. I’ve read several articles about companies discriminating against the unemployed, but many qualified professionals have been out of a job since 2008! Again, I think we need to bring these issues to light, and help change the misconception that taking a “lesser” job in a down economy disqualifies you from a successful career. Some of the most frustrating and embarrassing calls came from companies that wanted to hire someone cheap, so they picked out this one little line item at the bottom of my resume and assumed I was that person. I realize I’m not defined by my unemployment job, and I think it would be helpful for others to realize the same is true for them. So, my conclusion is that I’ll be publishing my job during unemployment in the near future… hopefully it will help someone else feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel!
As this post is already running long, and “personal stuff” is a whole other topic in itself, I’m going to push the question about salaries and education costs to tomorrow’s post. What do you think about transparency and credibility on your blog or real-life interactions? Am I right to publish these “damaging” posts?