Last updated on July 5th, 2022 at 01:17 pm
The bottom of my resume lists a small portfolio of my online work with one of them being a blog.
I didn’t give much thought to whether listing this project helps (or hurts) my ability to obtain work — or achieve my dreams. I reveal the blog because I’m honest, it’s what I do in my spare time, and I’m proud of my work.
Sometimes dreamers are two facades rolled into one person: the diligent worker at their 9 to 5 corporate job, who then rolls out their dream after the kids have gone to bed, or the person that doesn’t start their dreams until after the kids have graduated from college, or they’ve decided to retire.
I just happened to start my online dream because I fell in love with blogging by writing stories on a laptop on my bed.
But recently I’ve wondered about disclosing my dream due to the varied reactions from executives at the idea that I blog in several places, and openly admit that I currently suffer from writer’s block on my mom blog, A Week In The Life of A Redhead. I’ve received looks like I studied Benkala Sign Language for a trip to Ireland.
I still think corporate America is afraid of the very social aspect of our lives online.
I can still hear the sweet, soft whisper of his heavily accented voice over the phone when he called me from the latest city of his corporate entanglements – always ready to save me from myself . . .
Catherine, don’t tell employers about your social media or blogs.
I’d fall back on my bed with the cell phone pressed tight against my right ear, like some tight egg facial keeping me from making an expression — not wanting to miss one delicious point pouring out of his heavily accented mouth — all the while concealing the fact that his honesty too often hurts my feelings.
He was the perfect corporate executive.
I often wanted to ignore his advice, but the fact that he traveled in the kind of technology circles budding 15-year-old programmers only dream of, I understood that his point of view reflected the thoughts of CEOs who felt that your personal life and business life were one and the same. To him, the Internet was a scary place of permanent embarrassment and possible career ruin.
What life on the Internet?
(Sigh) Catherine, this ‘blog thing’ of yours. How you handle your personal business can reflect badly on your business, business.
Is this 1954?
There’d be silence while he sipped scotch with the phone echoing with the sound of ice cubes bumping — an indication of his stress level — like one who has just laid a newborn down to sleep for the first time. I was (and still am), a single mom supporting the kind of boy that people become enamored with the minute they meet him, thus producing the kind of stranger maternal instinct where they think, I hope you’re doing right by him.
Catherine, what if they don’t get you like I do? What if simple writing mistakes cost you a job?
What are you saying? Are you saying you don’t like my writing?
No . . . it’s just that . . . you are writing about being a mom.
Is that a bad thing?
His voice would trail off as if he knew something I didn’t — like there was some secret club of Internet watchers and my website flashed up on their radar one too many times.
We’ll, it’s not like I’m trying to overthrow the Government.
It’s the Internet, Catherine. they might not understand who you really are . . .
The wrong impression
Our discussions about living life online reminded me of the conversations I’d have when working in Mortgage Banking where I’d argue credit issues for borrowers trying to borrow money against an inexperienced, young underwriter telling me her fears about approving the loan. A life-changing decision was contemplated by someone who had no life experience with death, divorce, or terminal illness.
But he’s been behind on his car payment for a year.
Yes, exactly 30 days down while his wife went through chemotherapy and he took time off work to take care of her. Now he wants to refinance to bring everything current.
But I am worried what will happen if she dies.
He just spent a year showing you how he handles everything on his own, while his wife was ill. You don’t get this kind of information on a loan with two healthy people just starting out in life. I’ll take a chance on this husband any day. He’s already shown you what kind of person he is.
The underwriter would look at me the same way Mr. Phone did — like someone who trusted the world just a wee little too much for my own good and didn’t understand there had to be consequences for taking certain kinds of risk.
That was 7 years ago and the Internet has changed since then — the whole world is sharing — but sometimes at night I still hear his gentle voice worrying for me. It’s in these moments I return to a place of second-guessing my dreams. It’s usually followed by a vision of financial ruin where some orthodontist is waiting to pry the braces from my son’s teeth before we’re done.
Is it possible that publicly living your dreams can ruin your life?
Since those heavy-breathing phone days of 2003, we have seen the expeditious rise of self-publishing, social media, and female bloggers — some of who even make a living online.
Ree Drummond @ Pioneer Woman
Arianna Huffington @ Huffington Post
Julie Powell @ The Julie/Julie Project chronicled in the movie Julie and Julia
Does corporate America understand the Internet any better than these women did back in 2003? It took Goldman Sachs’s $450 million investment in Facebook to get American business owners interested in looking seriously at its business model.
Would Mr. Phone be sipping scotch while warning me to stay off Facebook too?
But honey . . . I have 1200 followers there and growing . . .
Being involved in the self-publishing phenomenon has changed me for the better. I read more books — right now there’s a pile of 22 hardcovers next to my bed. I write every day. I research difficult topics I don’t understand. I spent a year learning Gaelic online. I’ve met people from all over the world. I’m a more interesting person. And I am most happy when I am writing and dancing.
I’ve become a seasoned traveler from this small dining room table just off my kitchen. It’s been lovely.
But is it possible that a blog could ruin your dream life?
You know, the life we live off our computers?
Catherine Hughes is the founder, content director and editor-at-large of 8WomenDream. She is passionate about helping women step out of their own way and strike out into a world waiting for their special talents. She’s a published author and a former award-winning mom blogger. Catherine has helped companies both large and small create engaging web content, social media narratives, and unique blogging platforms. She claims to be a redhead, but don’t hold that against her.
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