Q&A #1: Honesty + Openness
Months ago, I did an open call for questions. I asked what you wanted to know about me, and now I’m finally going to start answering your questions!
Q: “Let me first say that I love that you’re so open and honest about every aspect of your life. My question is ‘did it ever backfire’? I’d love to be so open and truely myself but I’m feeling really anxious that it somehow can be used against me or will backfire i.e. that my (future) employer won’t appreciate it or the comments of people I dont know and shouldnt care about (but still do).”
A: Thank you! I’m glad you appreciate my openness and honesty. It’s something I pride myself on, so I’m always glad when it’s received well. I grew up and watched my parents lie to each other and always hated it, so I vowed to be as honest as I could be.
In my personal life, I’m a chronic over-sharer. I tell people things that make them uncomfortable, with or without them asking. No topic is off limits or embarrassing to me. I will tell people I just met about my sex life, and I have no problem on calling people (including strangers) on stuff that they say if it’s offensive or based in ignorance. My friends don’t always like how blunt I am with them, but it’s just how I am.
A few months ago, a guy I legitimately think is a bad person approached our group while we were out one night. I told him how I felt to his face. I had to help a few of my friends pick their jaws up off the floor, but ultimately I think they’re grateful that they know if I ever dislike or have a problem with them, they’ll know. There’s no guessing how I feel.
In my professional life (ahem, blogging), I’m also an over-sharer. It’s possible I might be more successful if I approached this stuff from a more distanced perspective, but that’s not how I want to do this. My MO is to tell you who I am, and if you’re cool with that you’re welcome to stick around. And I don’t mean that in a flippant way. If you can handle my brand of weird, I’d love to have you with me. But that’s (I’m) not going to be awesome for everyone, and that’s okay! I kind of associate it with fireworks. Fireworks are loud, wild, and beautiful. Some people stop everything they’re doing to look at them, and some people cover their ears and wish they didn’t exist.
So has it ever backfired? Yeah, I guess. People have chosen not to be my friend because of it, and I’m sure plenty more don’t like my blog for the same reason. But I don’t think it’s a bad thing. If you don’t like it, keep rolling!
The job thing is a real issue, though. At this point in society, employers will Google the crap out of you before they agree to hire you. I don’t blame them, honestly. If you have that information, why wouldn’t you use it? But the thing is that you can’t really make assumptions about someone’s work performance based on their personal and social life.
When I was 22, I would close down the bar multiple weeknights, and still be at work around 7 the next day. I actually got promoted during that phase of my life. Just because I’m a feminist, have a psychiatric diagnosis, and am training in burlesque doesn’t mean I won’t make your admin files my bitch. How I party doesn’t necessarily affect my work performance.
So I guess what I’m saying is that if you feel like making your online presence more private for employment purposes, that could be smart. But if you have the skills needed and nail the interview for a job you want, and your employer still doesn’t hire you because your last tweet was too snarky, then fuck ’em. You don’t want to work there anyway.
It really depends on what part of your life you’re in, though. When I worked at the psych rehab, all my stuff was private because the clients would try to find me online and add me (and if I added them back we’re dealing with legal issues). But now, my life is online for business purposes and there’s probably no way that I could work in that industry and simultaneously keep this blog. But I chose the blog, and I’m very happy with my decision.
Be yourself always, unapologetically. Love yourself and stand up for the choices you make. If you trust and believe in yourself, it will be a lot easier to be honest about your life.