Every time I post something here it’s a risk.
The next time I apply for a job – or a promotion – a Google search of my name could bring a potential employer here. I momentarily fear the worst each time I hit “publish.” I’m not sure potential employers will see me as a smart, professional, has-it-all-together employee if they read how I have been unsure about the direction my career is moving, or how I struggle to find the right balance between my personal and professional lives. I worry that writing about my favorite kind of socks or makeup will make them think I am silly, or that posting about worries and concerns will make them think I am unreliable or unstable.
I worry that this blog is a liability.
But over these last three years of blogging, I’ve learned that writing on a regular basis is good for me. Writing out my experience, what I’ve learned, and what I hope for helps me know myself a little better. It helps me find peace and balance in stressful times. This blog has become an asset. Developing my casual writing voice – speaking directly to you, without big words or footnotes or trying to be impressive – is important to my personal and professional development. One of my strengths is discussing complicated concepts in an approachable way. I don’t write about serious topics in this space as often as I could, but I am continually developing my speaking voice here. I treat this space like a conversation and write accordingly, thus developing my voice and sharpening my ability to speak honestly, carefully, and clearly. Writing here – and honestly, writing anywhere – makes me smarter and a better communicator.
My reputation is important to my career, and my career is important to me.
A few things are off limits here. I don’t use my last name, and I don’t mention the names of family or husbands or friends unless I know it is okay to do so. I might discuss my work, whether I’m feeling fulfilled or concerned about certain things, but I’ll do so in a generic, careful way that focuses on office culture and being a good employee and co-worker, not in a way that points to where I work or criticizes individuals or institutions. I’m careful about political statements, and would rather we discuss issues and ideas than parties. These limitations make this blog possible, and I appreciate your helping me keep the conversation here within those boundaries. I promise that what you read here will not violate the trust inherent in my personal or professional relationships. [Comments that go too far will be deleted with enthusiasm.]
This space is important to me too.
I’m careful not to share too much here, but I do want this space to be honest and real. The internet craves honesty and, more importantly, nuance. I think we all do. A face looks a little too perfect when it has been filtered and altered and sharpened; heavy editing makes our lives bright and shiny but obscures the truth. If I only wrote here when I was feeling confident and focused and smart and successful, I might not write at all. I’ve committed to myself and to my readers that writing is something I will do, and that I will work diligently to do it better.
So, thank you.
Three years of off-and-on blogging through law school, the bar exam, the job search, my first job, hard professional changes and a cross-country move, and you’ve been here with me, encouraging my writing, helping me survive the winters, and reminding me not to give this space up. It’s been lovely, and so much fun. I am excited to enter into this new season, and many more, with you.