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My Crisis of Context

January 20th, 2010 Mike Leave a comment Go to comments

So as you can see, it’s been a very long time since my last writing. During this time a lot has happened to me including an interstate move, new jobs, home ownership and all manner of realizations about my future. I’ll commit these to the screen in due time. What I wanted to get off my chest first, though, was the reason for not writing. There was a touch of laziness on my part but the bigger roadblock was that, until December, I did not officially have a job. What does this have to do with not writing? I’d like to call it my “crisis of context.”

Think of it this way… I’d recently moved and created a site to store my online resume and writings from my past employment. What I want to write about, however, was much more varied; technology, politics, social issues, religion, music and just about anything else that crossed my mind. But with any writing that puts your thoughts on display (especially politics or religion), you have to be very careful who reads it. I’ve heard stories from friends and family of people who’ve lost interviews and opportunities for things as minor as sport team preference… I’m not kidding. So is there a chance that I could write a few posts that provide a very small glimpse into my views on a topic only to have them read by a hiring manager, who came to check out my online resume, that does not agree with my views? I’m not saying all, or even most, hiring managers are that petty, but when competition is so high I want every advantage (or lack of disadvantages) I can get.

I can’t blame anyone because these personal connections and disconnections happen all the time. Salespeople do it all the time as they try to pump you for information until they find some common thread then work that line to establish rapport. I’ve felt it too when a salesperson is in my office and makes an off-color remark. Such remarks turn me off and the meeting is basically over, but there are other people out there that would find it endearing. Sad, but true. Is it more professional then to ignore a person’s character and focus solely on their resume and expertise? Perhaps, but you could have a fantastic resume and the project will still fall flat if we cannot work on BOTH a personal and professional level. I think office decorum is very important and working in IT has given me a glimpse into the types of wasted time and less-than-ideal activities people pursue on the clock. More on that in a later post… *maybe*…

So I think those thoughts paralyzed my writing. I was overcome by the “what if someone reads this and gets a certain impression because there’s no history of posts to provide additional context and help explain my point of view?” Or even more simply the “I wrote something refuting a typical conservative talking point but the hiring manager I’m speaking with is a fervent Republican who strongly disagrees with my views?” Again… people in general are a petty lot, so I don’t give everyone the benefit of the doubt that they can look past personal views when making professional decisions.

But now that I have a full-time job (and a second part-time gig, more on that later) I feel actually liberated to speak more openly. Now all I need to do is find the time…

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