when in rome

A friend sent me a link to this article from the Wall Street Journal Online.  It discusses the stickiness that can ensue if your boss wants to be your “friend” on MySpace or Facebook and the dilemma of keeping your personal life separate from your work life.  Either hilarity or disaster are sure to ensue.

There is a lot of dialogue these days about the fine line between the office persona and our personal lives.  I find these discussions to be very intriquing.  Sometimes I tend to overthink things and that is probably the case in this instance but here are my thoughts on this topic for what they’re worth…

I’ve discovered that people are different depending on the environment they find themselves in.  They are chameleons to the situation at hand.  Isn’t this true in many, if not most, instances?  For example, I’m not saying it’s right but I know there are a lot of people who are pious as all get out in their pew on Sunday morning but you will find them in various states of “sin” on Saturday night.  Or people who act the way they are expected to act around certain people (their parents or boss for example) and are a totally different way around others.  We’re all hypocrites to some extent.   We have to be in order to survive, to have any friends, to keep our jobs, remain in the family will, etc.  Is that a cynical way of thinking?  Some might say so, but I think it’s more along the lines of being realistic.

As a personal example, I have scrubbed and sanitized this blog to be work safe, church friend safe, parent safe, grandma safe and any other which way safe.  What you see here is only what I allow to be put out there for public consumption and not my deep dark secrets.  (Aren’t you curious now? Heh)  If there is an issue or person that I cannot post my opinion about because I know it will not end up well, then I simply don’t talk about it.  Am I proud of that?  Not really.  It sucks that I can’t just let it all hang out here, but I can’t and that’s that.  And that’s ok, there are other places for my ornery but true self to vent.  It’s kind of like what our mom’s used to tell us…”if you can’t say something nice, say nothing”.  It bugs me though that by doing this, I believe you are getting a watered down version of me.  I struggle with that and what I want this blog to be about.  But that’s a whole ‘nother post for a different day. 

On the one hand, I resent that I cannot just be me no matter where I am.  Then again, necessity deems that I morph into what is expected of me at the time.  That’s just the way it is.  But I’m not sure where the line is between being who we truly are and an Orwellian existance.

Regarding the workplace, many employers are on the lookout for rebel employees and are now savvy enough to go searching online for potential problem hires.   One employer may not blink an eye at that compromising photo or opinionated post on your MySpace profile, while for another it might mean the end of your career at that company.  Everyone wants people to say only nice things about them, companies included.  But are they shortchanging themselves by only employing those people without the gumption to speak their minds or be themselves?  For the record, I think there is a difference between defamation or slander and constructive dialogue. 

Many say that the best policy is to never post anything on the internet that could be construed as questionable.  That is the safest policy I’m sure, but is it a fair one? 

4 thoughts on “when in rome

  1. Sounds to me that you’re dying to ditch this blog and start another one…one that’s roman à clef. That’s what I do. I use real people and real places, but I just change the name, that way no one is the wiser and no one’s feelings get hurt. It also helps that I really dont tell my friends about my blog. My mother taught me that it’s not nice to say something mean in front of somebody – you wait until they leave the room!

  2. No, it’s not fair at all. Many times I have to catch myself before I post something because I have to remember that just when I think someone won’t read it, 50 people see it and bombard me. (Well, that hasn’t exactly happened before, but you catch my drift.)
    Chameleon is a good word to use because, yes, we show different parts of ourselves and hide other parts depending on the situation and the people. The comfort level rises and falls with different groups of people. But that’s okay. I know that if I were completely myself around some people, they would run for the hills. The point is…as I said before, but now it doesn’t seem as cheesy to me….I much prefer to read an entire book and have the opportunity to laugh and cry through the pages than get to the prologue and have the entire story spelled out to me before I even start into the heart of the matter. Gradually, little by little, we get to know you and that’s what’s so wonderful about the entire situation. And if you feel the need to bash someone’s head in, go with David’s idea. But, people enjoy coming back to this blog because every day we find out something new and different and it’s certainly never lacking in entertainment.
    Geez, I’ll probably be blocked from commenting now.

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