So, my “social media presence” (I hate that term, it just sounds like a haunting of some kind) has come under scrutiny from my current workplace.
I’m honestly not sure how I feel about this.
I started off feeling a bit wary, because I know that some of the things I post are rants and crankiness. Then it morphed into a bit of anger, because what I do in my personal space should have no bearing on my job or the people I work with. That’s pretty much where I’m still at.
My social media sites and this website/blog have disclaimers on them stating that in no way or form do I speak for my current (or previous) employers. That this is purely personal.
It’s been raised that some of my posts have “hit too close to home” regarding my work – including my sexism post.
I’m feeling somewhat miffed by that – my sexism post was written purely to demonstrate that a) no matter how confident you feel, there is always someone out there who can shake that confidence to the core and b) that people are willing to sit by and let this slide because it’s all they’ve known and they don’t see a problem with it.
I have a feeling that the reason my sexism post was flagged was because it HAD hit too close to home – it made some of the people I work with uncomfortable because they were in the damn room. And you know what? It was supposed to make them feel uncomfortable. It was supposed to make them feel like they’d done something wrong – because they had. They sat there, said nothing, and let it happen. The fact that they now feel bad about it is a good thing, because it means they’ve realised that what occurred should never have happened and someone should’ve said something.
Don’t get me wrong – even I feel bad because I didn’t stand up for myself. I’ve now made it plainly clear that won’t be the case. I’ve given up caring if I’m classed as “that woman that causes trouble”. If it means that no other woman (or person, for that matter) has to go through what I did, then it’s worth it.
And if my co-workers feel bad, hopefully it means that the next time this happens, they won’t stay quiet, and they will say something.
But I’m still second-guessing myself with everything I write online, every word I type, every Twitter status I favourite or retweeet, every Facebook status I like.
I’ve spent the last two weeks trying to work out whether I should start self-censoring. Whether I need to think, and re-think, and re-evaluate every post I put here, every tweet I write, every Facebook status I post.
I wasn’t built to conform to someone else’s expectations of what I should and shouldn’t think. I understand there are boundaries that shouldn’t be crossed and I had crossed one and posted something (in anger) that I shouldn’t have. I removed it after cooling off and realising it shouldn’t have been posted. I still maintain my anger regarding that issue and I still maintain that I’m right and they’re wrong. But in my current position, I’m one tiny voice amongst many thousands and – to be perfectly honest – no one really gives a flying fuck. Even if I was to scream from the rooftops, I honestly don’t think anyone would care.
All of this has made me re-evaluate how I see myself in my work and how I do my job. I’ve realised now that I am in desperate need for a holiday, for a break, for a change of pace because I’m coming close to becoming apathetic and cynical about the whole thing – and that’s not where I want to be.
I enjoy what I do, I love the technology I’m working with, I love solving problems and helping craft solutions and generally ‘fixing things’. But when your suggestions are ignored and your ideas thrown out, or you’re seen as “just making waves” and “just trying to cause trouble” it makes it very hard to maintain that enthusiasm and be positive and keep going.
So I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not going to self-censor. I’ve removed traces of exactly where I work from every place I can find online. If my work place is worried about things I might say, then I won’t associate myself with them. I have disclaimers that say I speak for myself – if someone has a problem with something I say, they’re welcome to talk to me about it – but I’m not going to second-guess everything I post, every blog article I write, every Twitter status I send out just because I’m worried how it’ll make my employer look. I’m not that kind of person.
I want what I say and do and think to represent ME – no one else.
If you’ve got a problem with that, it’s just that – your problem. Not mine.