This week has been, let’s just say an interesting one. After many conversations and internalization I did think I needed to post something about this topic of personal and professional lines. I’ve had this challenge since I joined social media over a decade ago. Your personal name and brand is yours, nobody owns it but you. There is also the concept of free speech and we can say whatever we want on our personal social media. That has always been a grey area for many people. Often there is the argument of “get a different username for other purposes” which I don’t subscribe to. Also in many cases that actually violates a platforms rules, but hey. Most of the time I even wonder if anyone is even listening to me in all the noise anyhow.
Well, this week I learned that sometimes, people do listen to what you have to say, and me specifically….go figure. For the most part it had the “intended” effect, and also some [not so] intended effects. I told someone earlier today, “sometimes I don’t get it, I am not a big deal , I’m just a regular guy trying to stay afloat most days and be heard when I get treated badly by a service I pay for”. I am not going to apologize for exposing the issue that I had because it was necessary to put out there, but……I’ll admit maybe the tone and language was a bit much for some folks to swallow. My only defense, is that is just sometimes who I am. After also speaking to someone else today that I highly respect about the past week, there were new thoughts about this whole topic so let me share what’s on my mind.
I will always be me, I can’t change that, and let’s face it I am getting too old to even try. I have always used colorful language, in person or online. You have to understand I get it from my grandfather. I loved him to death, and he was a loud, “colorful”, man my whole life. While some things I may not be able to change, something that did occur to me was a little different today.
While I rarely care about people’s opinions of me, (love me or hate me), I do care about some people’s ability to feel as though they could or could not associate with me. That may sound like I care about their opinion, but it’s a little different. I’ve built some relationships professionally that many people may not have. The worst thing I could feel is that if one or many of those were tarnished so badly that those people felt they could no longer even be associated with me. That they may feel as though I am just too much of a loose cannon to have their name associated with or be seen with.
That has been the main takeaway for me this week is that I may very well have not damaged my reputation, because let’s face it that reputation is what it is and has been for a long time. I have always been known as a no BS person who calls it when I see it. No, in fact instead I could have damaged someone else’s reputation by means of their association or relationship with me. Maybe that is not the case, but looking back I do think that is where the personal and professional line is important to remember.
So as I go into the weekend, on one hand feeling very vindicated in the situation that stirred things up, I also have to eat a slice of humble pie. Not for the sake I should not have exposed the issue, but maybe, just maybe using a few less caps, and not as much colorful language. What we will never know though, is if that “softer” approach would have gained the same level of attention. So I guess we just have to wait until next time, as I am sure there will certainly be a next time.