The Me Online vs. The Real Me vs. Work Me

When I was in school, professors used to warn me about what I put out into the world wide web because you never know when your future employer may check up on you. I thought I was safe making my Facebook page as private as possible, and making sure even there I was fairly well-behaved. I even went the extra step of befriending co-workers only after a certain period of time, and never, ever “friending” superiors and bosses.

Michael Scott. World's Best Boss.

Michael Scott. World’s Best Boss.

However, what my professors didn’t touch on was that your online interactions with so called “friends” on Facebook are just another area to consider when you are uploading that particular selfie (I still shudder at the word!) or typing that one particular status.

See, something has changed since graduation. A few years ago, the majority of my friends on Facebook were recent graduates, working part-time jobs and still embracing the camaraderie that college used to offer.

Office Sad Jim

Now, a fair amount of those same friends are working full-time jobs for well respected companies, some are even supervisors in positions where they oversee entry-level employees and interns.

It is funny, because being in a position of that nature, I am starting to view what my friends, and ultimately what I post online quite differently.

I look at a lot of resumes. I receive a lot of cover letters. I also am given links to online portfolios and LinkedIn accounts-but I don’t stop there. My curious nature will search the individual on their Facebook page or see if they have a Twitter handle, and so far, the majority of candidates have kept a fairly squeaky clean online persona.

Office Pam gif

Now, I’m on the fence with seeking out information on individuals via Twitter and Facebook, because there is a part of me that believes that how a person behaves and acts off the clock isn’t my business and I shouldn’t condemn them (or applaud them, pending on how you look at it) for their various acts they proclaim in the online world.

On the same note, I can’t help but think that sometimes the behavior that is shared is a good indicator to the person’s overall personality-including their work ethic and how they will conduct themselves as an employee.

That’s where I get nervous.

I like to think I have a fairly clean online presence. Maybe a few too many shared quiz results (thanks a lot Buzzfeed), maybe a few too many cutesy smiley faces on my boyfriend’s wall, and maybe there are a few photos from college theatre that might raise an eyebrow or could be deemed questionable by the wrong audience (no pun intended).

However, is that how my Facebook friends see me? You might wonder why it matters what your Facebook friends think. They like you for who you are (that is, you are actually being the “real you” online and not the “cyber you” that so many people actually become on social media sites) and want you to express yourself! Right?

What happens when that Facebook friend lands a sweet job at a fantastic company, and a few months later shares on Facebook that his company has an opening for a position you would be perfect for?

Office Boss Man Jim

Do you think they will find your vulgar jokes, questionable selfies, oversharing posts, and whiny/complaining/too-much-information statuses as charming as they did before?

Some individuals might still find them charming. Some individuals might not care what you do after hours (or even on the clock). But there might be a few that question if they really want to bring you on as an employee because a few weeks ago you shared a status about how ” I hate work,  life sucks, racial slur and inappropriate/sexual comment about current co-worker, ending with I can’t expletive wait for the expletive weekend.” (Or something along those lines)

As a young working professional, and as an aspiring writer, I’m wondering what sort of online presence I should keep and maintain, and how I should go about it. The young working professional is being the right shoulder angel, gently coaxing me to post less, be more vague, and minimize my online visibility. Meanwhile, my writing side is being a sassy smoldering temptress on the left shoulder, seductively pointing out that I won’t get anywhere in the writing world if I don’t create an online identity and voice.

Shoulder Angels

Which leads me to you, fellow followers, friends (both on Facebook/Twitter and in real life): What are your thoughts on your online identity? Should we all be completely honest? Should we keep a pleasant online “FACE”? Or should we forgo the social media craze for the greater good of our jobs and their security?

I look forward to your thoughts!

Sincerely,

The Shoe

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Wrong Place at the Right Time

I’m driving in my car, with the windows down and the radio on, still in disbelief at the greenery all around me. Birds are singing, fluffy clouds lazily stroll across the sky, and the air smells sweet, a blend of fresh cut grass and leftover rain.

And then it hits.

I’m at work, staring at my computer screen. Coffee on my left, paperwork on my right, and co-workers a cubicle’s distance away. Casual chatter and laughter as they design and I respond to client’s inquiries. A printing press is heard, the smell of ink and fresh paper wafts through the office, and I glance at the framed photos of my boyfriend and I.

And then it hits.

I’m sitting on a hard wooden pew, with cardigan covered arms crossed, and my right foot twitches. The minister shares a message, as hundreds of eyes and ears tune in. The sunlight catches the stain glass, the bright pink and white flowers pop on the altar, and a baby or two cry out.

And then it hits.

Inspiration hits at the absolute worst times. The ideas won’t stop flowing, words and thoughts and theories and visions all tumble together at the speed of light, so fast that even if you had a notebook or your computer nearby you couldn’t possibly capture every single thing spinning around in your mind at that very moment.

Then, the second you are finally near a pad of paper or your laptop, just as quickly as the creativity came upon you it has left again. Like a twister of imaginative wonder that has barely touched down before it’s sucked back up into the sky. You stare at the screen, the cursed cursor mocking you as it blinks ON off ON off ON off..

Nothing. Nothing at all comes to mind.

I think that is why I struggle so much with writing. Between work, commuting, and family commitments, my inspiration has no choice but to pop up at the worst possible times because I leave it no choice. I can’t help that my brain is extremely creative at 10:30 in the morning instead of after 6:00. I can’t control that driving somehow stimulates that special part of my cranium where the magic happens. Inspiration will happen when it wants to happen, and there isn’t anything I can do about it.

Or is that just what I tell myself?

Is it possible that I am using the fact that inspiration comes at less than ideal times as an excuse to not get any writing done? Is it becoming a well-disguised crutch? A crutch I lean on when I am too scared to actually try and turn my ideas into words, words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, paragraphs into pages, pages into chapters…

If I really break down how I could channel my inspiring moments (carry a notebook, a voice recorder, send myself a text message), would that help? Or am I just a “writer” that is actually just an individual with dreams but no drive and is extremely crappy at commitment and extremely fantastic at excuse-making and creative procrastination? What is stopping me from actually trying?

Fear? Laziness? Poor discipline? Self-doubt?

A good friend of mine (you know who you are) reminded me that writing is much like a relationship. Some days, you may not feel like you are into the relationship a hundred percent. It’s similar with writing. If we only write when we feel like it, are we really giving our writing the best shot it has? What if we only loved when we felt like it? What if we only cared for our friends or children when we felt like it? What if we only listened to our bosses when we felt like it?

If we only write when we feel like it, or when we think the inspiration hits us, we aren’t giving our writing our best shot.

I might not become a successful writer someday. I might not be the proud author of a best seller. I even may never become published.

But you and I won’t get anywhere close to those dreams if we don’t at least try.

shrugging gwenyth

 

New Directions

No, this post is not going to focus on a former high school club centered on an underdog show choir. Sorry to disappoint if that is what you were looking forward. Here’s an entertaining GIF to make up for it:

Ah. Season One Glee. Before they ignored Tina. Before they ruined her character and made her break up with Mike and have her have that whole weird thing with Blaine... but anyway. Where was I?

Ah. Season One Glee. Before they ignored Tina. Before they ruined her character and made her break up with Mike and have her have that whole weird thing with Blaine…
but anyway. Where was I?

No, by new directions I am actually discussing the path of this blog, and ultimately, the path I am meandering in my own life.

When I first started this blog, it was purely to serve as an outlet. Therapy. A release of sorts. I started this blog two months after my student loans kicked in, and about seven months after I had graduated college. I was working part-time, with dreams of finding full time work to support the aggressive repayment plan I envisioned in my head, as well as my dreams of moving back out on my own.

awesome colbert

That was over a year ago, and 2013 was filled with the thoughtful mind wanderings of a part-time working, life questioning, angst ridden 23-year-old. My posts focused on my ever changing job search, personal frustrations and struggles, and the optimistic hope that someday I would land that full-time job, and instead of being called a recent graduate I would carry a new title: the young professional.

michael j fox young professional

Now here I am. Over a year later, and I am working full-time. My loans are slowly yet surely getting paid off, I’m slowly yet surely taking on additional responsibilities, and the original journey of this blog seems to have reached its destination. I no longer will cry at random, worrying about working in wedding retail for the rest of my life as a part-time employee with no shot at benefits. I no longer spend all my free time stalking career websites. I no longer agonize and obsess over revisions of my resume.

Instead, my free time has included reading, sleeping, and seeking out places to live (since I will soon be moving out of a previously mentioned pink bedroom).

Everything seems to be falling into place, at least that is how it would appear. One might even question if this blog has a purpose anymore.

leia go what

I’m here to say, it does.

epic han omg

This blog has been highly instrumental in helping me navigate the inner tunnels and mazes and confusions of…well, myself. Despite having figured out a few things here and there, there is still a lot that I can learn about myself. Sure, I have the job thing squared away, but there are still those other items on my bucket list. There is still that dream of writing eating away at me. There are still a million thoughts going a million miles a minute in my cranium.

So, while the direction of this blog may slightly change over the next year, it is here to stay. Here to help me, and hopefully others. Here to show that I’m not alone as I figure out this whole “life thing”, and here to help you see that you aren’t either.

Thank you for a fantastic year and a half, and I look forward to seeing where 2014 and beyond takes us.

Sincerely,

The Shoe

j law wink smile