Blogging and Career: The Great Balancing Act

I commented on Twitter during a recent episode of HR Happy Hour: 
“Put my HR blog on hold because once folks at my work found me, I suddenly felt exposed in an unsupported way from coworkers.” 
This is something I have been mulling over for a while because I love to blog and I love HR. I want to write about HR, organizational change, and culture. I get downright jazzed about it. When I stopped blogging about what I love, I felt disconnected as a whole.

Many companies have hopped on the social media train in different ways such as company blogs, Twitter accounts, Facebook fan pages (or are they called LIKE pages, now?), or intranet sites to keep their associates connected. However, many companies have not anticipated this:

What if associates are so passionate about the work they do that they want to create their own personal blog about it?

Being fairly young in the workforce and having great passion around what I do, I was incredibly thrilled to create my own personal blog. I never thought twice about making it anonymous. Why would I do that? I want people to know who I am so I can connect with my readership. In fact, I named my blog “Meet Cindy Elizabeth.” I was one blog out of many and I never even considered that coworkers or friends who knew me on a personal level would find it and read what I was thinking – whether it was about resume writing tips or organizational culture. Since I am not the “subject matter expert” I think I worry too much what others would think about what I have to say.

When my immediate co-worker found my blog, I was taken back. I felt my cheeks turn bright red like I was embarrassed for hiding something and he was so casual about the whole thing. He didn’t care, but I cared. I was scared out of my brains that this was the beginning of co-workers finding my blog. I had no idea how my company would feel about me having a blog talking about HR. There isn’t a social media policy in place and I am absolutely clueless as to what is and is not okay in my organization.  In fact, I still don’t know.  The other side of the coin is this: sometimes I am not speaking from experience and I am talking from the heart and expressing my opinion. I often put the pressure on myself to not express my voice about something at work if I am not the subject matter expert. So the question I often find myself asking is:

Does passion trump knowledge?

I quit writing because of fear of repercussion if it wasn’t okay that I had a blog.  It was clear that this was my writing and even though I had quickly removed any reference to my company, I still felt scared, nervous, and small. In the Corporate HR world, I have found it hard to put my stake in the ground and move it around if I need to.  I can promise I am not saying anything earth shattering but I often feel bogged down by the chains of the what-if, “What if my boss finds my blog – what would she think?”

So, my questions are:

  • Are more companies putting social media policies in place around associates with personal blogs?
  • How do folks handle situations when coworkers DO find your blogs?
  • Am I just simply over analyzing and over reacting?

What do you think?

About the Author

Cindy Janovitz

Cindy Janovitz works for a great Fortune 500 company in Minnesota. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Communications and Spanish from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. Cindy has a passion for working with and helping people and a love for organizational culture. Three words Cindy uses to describe herself are energetic, passionate, and driven. You can connect with Cindy on Twitter as @cindyelizabeth

6 Comments

Lois Melbourne

Cindy,
I hope that you will continue to exude your enthusiasum and share your passions with the world. It is a joy to read from people that have something to share and enjoy the process of sharing it. I hope you keep it up and write with abandon. I will add you to my RSS feeds so that I soak up your spirit.

Cheers,
Lois

Reply
Trisha McFarlane

Cindy, I was working in an environment that stifled by blogging. Not because I identified the company or because I was blogging about any issues that happened at work. It was because they did not think it was a benefit to the company. I found a job working for an organization that is proud of my writing skills, my blog, and my networking I do through blogging and social media. I would tell anyone to follow their heart and mind. If it means ultimately moving to another organization that will appreciate you for ALL you bring to the table, so be it. Good luck and keep writing!

Reply
Diane Prince Johnston

Cindy:

As owner of my company I think about this quite often and, as well as blogging for Workwy, I still have a very personal blog where I discuss issues such as divorced parenting and I don’t hide my identity. I am not really sure what is “right” or not and what the community thinks about it and I don’t think an employee or client would necessarily feel comfortable telling me if they see it as inappropriate. I, however, love my personal blog as I adore writing and have found this a wonderful release and healthy hobby.

Speaking to wondering about if your boss reads it, I came across an employee’s personal blog a few months ago and I followed it. I mentioned to her in the office that I really enjoyed it and I think I embarassed her and have noticed that she stopped writing. My my perspective, I learned more about this individual, found her writing style beautiful and saw her from a different view than simply as a payroll specialist. I wonder if I should have kept my admiration silent and I hope that she will take up blogging again becaise she is a truly gifted writer.

Reply
Kimberly Roden

Cindy, as a new blogger in a brand new position, I can relate! Luckily my manager (the CEO) had already read my posts prior to even interviewing me for the job and he was okay with it. However, I had a similar experience when a co-worker e-mailed me and indicated they had read my blog and found it, “interesting.” That’s it! I had a quick rush of panic but then I thought — “is my blog hurting anyone or any organization?” No. When confronted by a co-worker about it, keep it light — “yes, I enjoy writing.” When you’re sharing your work experiences with integrity and it’s something you’re passionate about, don’t stifle it.

Reply
Chris Frede

Cindy, boy can I relate to your experience and agree with Shaun that you my be over thinking it – I was! First, I had a personal blog, then an anonymous HR blog then decided to, well – come out. During this process some great conversations with other HR bloggers who gave me the courage to do so. Would love to continue the discussion with you regarding my experience – but go for it!

Great post!

Reply
Shaun Emerson

Cindy…Over the years, I have been fortunate to lead teams of people in an effort to grow a number of different businesses. Personally, I love team members who are so enthusiastic about their work, their ideas and learning from others that they take the extra effort to explore additional paths of growth. I think you are over-thinking it. Go with your passion! Giddy Up!

Reply

Leave a Reply to Trisha McFarlane Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *