One of the things I did when ill back in the early 00s was become enamoured of social media and blogs. I set up online journals and didn’t care who knew about it. I wrote caustically about life, illness, and the people who upset me, often all at the same time and with no regard for who it might hurt. It never even occurred to me that it would come back to bite me. This was partly because it was a relatively new medium of expression and there were few codified workplace sets of guidance, and partly because I was very ill.
It certainly did bite me in the arse though, largely because one of the people following my blog was my manager, and they didn’t take my blowing off steam lightly. It was one of those horrible self-sabotaging things that depression made so easy to do, and I must have been horrifying to manage at the time. As it was, it led to mistrust, stress and nearly the ending of my contract as we all fumbled around and tried to work through it. Things said in jest were taken seriously, and pain best kept private was broadcast to the world, and those were the good days.
I did at least learn from the experience – eventually – and it is what led to my resolving to blog under my own name, and to talk openly but carefully about topics as they wandered into focus. I wrote a while back about how, for me, blogging under a pseudonym just wasn’t an option, largely because it risked being a shield for my delusions and encouraged an imprecision of expression.
As long as I don’t mind writing as if anything I say could be splashed across the world’s news (technically a possibility, though I fear I’m not likely to have hordes of people interested in me), then this is where I can be Foolish in public while honing my professional skills.
These days there’s generally more awareness, or at least publicity, when things go wrong. I can see examples in news feeds every day of people falling foul of the interface between work life and social media, and sometimes encounter it in my day-to-day work. Fortunately these days it’s usually people coming to me for advice (which amuses me, given the history disclosed above), and if I can help people on either side of the ‘whoops’ moment then all my mistakes have some purpose and reward.
I may still call you a number of inventive names, but you’ll know it was coming from a place of bitter experience and my eagerness to spare your potential blushes.
This moment of whimsy brought to you by “she said what?”, ” he posted what now?” and “I thought they said they were sick?”