Here is something that I’ve been pondering about quite a bit recently. A few years ago it was all bad news for bloggers who have jobs. Getting sacked because of your blog stuck fear into so many that it the concept even spawned its own word: dooce.
People who have been dooced are not in short supply. There was Joe Gordon who wrote unflattering things about his employers. Rather more unfairly there was Petite Anglaise, who was seemingly sacked for merely existing. Or something. And of course there is Heather Armstrong.
Because of all this, there is a bit of a fear about employers discovering your blog. I guess that is a bit old-fashioned now. More salient is the issue of MySpace and Facebook accounts being discovered. Blogs must seem relatively benign compared to some MySpace profiles.
Nevertheless, there is still a bit of a dilemma. What do you do if you are a blogger who is hunting for a job? I am getting to the stage where I am starting to think seriously about this issue. By this time next year I am supposed to have graduated and be doing a proper job. I now have to contend with the fact that large swathes of my personal life and opinions are out there in the open.
I’m not upset or angry about that. I was always aware that it would be the case. But it’s an interesting problem to tackle. It is pretty much accepted that nowadays employers will Google job candidates as a basic check.
True, you could blog anonymously. But I let that cat out of the bag years ago. Anyone searching for my name will find my website, this blog and my accounts for Bebo, Jaiku and Twitter — all on the first page of results.
Thankfully, while the general advice to blogging workers a few years ago was to keep it under your hat, nowadays I am seeing more and more people saying that having a blog is actually a boost to your career prospects. I am still not entirely convinced. Sitting in a Web 2.0 bubble, it is easy to say that blogging is great. But in my day-to-day life I still feel as though blogging is something that many people scoff at.
I mean, it is probably fair to say that blogging is a hobby for me. And hobbies are generally spoddy, right? Trainspotting, stamp collecting, fishing. It’s okay to be a nerd if it’s a hobby. Yet I would probably still be more comfortable listing ‘philately’ as a hobby than ‘blogging’. If somebody asks me what I did last night I will usually say, “Oh, nothing really. Just relaxed a bit.” But in reality I probably spent three hours blogging.
That is not because I am ashamed of my blog. Far from it. But the fact is that if I was to say to somebody that one of my biggest achievements was my blog, people would think I was the most utterly lame person alive. “Oh, you’ve got a blog? I had one of them once. So, who reads your blog? Your mum?”
The unfortunate fact is that for most people out there, a blogger is at best a wannabe writer who is not talented enough to be a professional. At worst, a blogger is a rambling, incoherent, narcissistic teenager.
The crux of the matter is this. You and I know that blogging can be a pretty worthwhile activity. But what does the person reading my CV think?
It could go either way I guess. I am in a hairy situation because my CV is rather bare. And as excellent as my current workplace is, I am guessing that it will take a bit more than filling shelves to impress potential employers.
The truth is that blogging probably is one of my better achievements. It has certainly been my main extracurricular activity over the past few years. So I think I will throw caution to the wind and stick it on my CV. After all, chances are that they will find it via Google anyway. I am also convinced that my years of blogging has given me lots of skills. That is actual skills, not M4D 5K1LL5.
I mostly agree with them. I will explain why tomorrow.
Update: I have now posted the list here.