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"Murphy was an optimist!"

Do you blog? What topics, if any, do you consider off limits? August 10, 2006 8:02 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life
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KristyK has posted this fantastic question. I look forward to reading the comments. I wrote a lengthy comment myself and have republished it here:

I love writing. I could do it all day. Just wish it would pay.

I notice that whenever I touch a subject that is tacky (like Sphinterine) or sexual that my readers clam up. I like to imagine they got a giggle but are too embarassed to post a comment and be associated with such material. Granted, my brother posted a "TMI" to the sexual reference linked above.

The subjects I avoid but want to write about are money, sex, and negativity.

I avoid money because my family reads my blog and they hate the lifestyle I’ve chosen so whenever money comes up as an issue family (and friends) immediately shout "why don’t you get a job?" The short answer is because I have a job; it is just not a traditional job. The long answer is that switching to a corporate job after 10 years of consulting just is not that simple. I work night and day and still find time to entertain interviews and market myself to existing and prospective clients.

I would love to write about sex. It is a favorite subject of mine. I could say of lot of interesting things on the subject. However, I think I have stayed in the "family blog" category and fear losing readers if too much sex comes up. I also have this possible misconception in my mind that people reading family blogs are "quality readers" while people looking to read about sex are "horny teens" and/or lessor quality adult readers. Fact is, married people have sex (maybe only once a year give or take but it happens).

Our lives are filled with negativity. Negativity can overwhelm positivity. One angry person in a room full of happy people can quickly change the mood. One happy person in a room full of grouchy people is likely to leave the room unhappy. I read my paper journals and for the most part they are filled with negativity. "This bad thing happened." "I could not get…" At least it is out of my head once it is on paper and that makes me feel good. However, I don’t think people reading my paper journals would "feel good." Our lives are also filled with positive, good things. I would like to write about the negative from a reality perspective but I don’t want people thinking that “because the child support check isn’t arriving on schedule, the mortgage is late, the fridge is empty, the big client refused payment, and no more jobs are lined up” our life is miserable because I think we suck the marrow from life, laugh and enjoy more than your typical home.

Of the three items; negativity, sex, and money, I could, and sometimes do, write about the negative. I truly want to give people more of a look into the challenges we face as a 7 person household with unpredictable cash flow. Obviously I have a post or two about sex. I think readers would be fascinated to follow the ups and downs of a feast or famine lifestyle.

Utlimately, the reason I avoid those 3 topics are employers. Whether my contract relations (new or old) are researching me or if a corporate recruiter is checking me out, the topics and level of revealing information could hinder my opportunity for hire. A blog does not reveal the whole person nor their whole situation. It is a glimpse at their life through a peep hole but I believe readers forget this and assume the blog and the person to be the whole story. Employers should embrace such information when weighing candidates as the blog gives so much more than a resume. But at this level of business maturity, instead of accepting "everyone has flaws," I feel today’s hiring managers would rather keep their blinders on and hire the non-blogger versus taking on the risk exposed by the blogger (be it acknowledging that the hiree has depression issues and might affect performance; or questioning if this journalist will reveal corporate secrets).

This topic is so important to me that I have a page on my blog dedicated to Why I Blog.

I suppose I fear having my character come into question over some satire or by misconstruing my writing. The reality of it is I am who I am. I am happy with who I am. I live honestly and try my best to treat others kindly. I offer my words so you can know me for I have nothing to hide.

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1. AT - August 10, 2006

Rock on, man.

2. Philip - August 10, 2006

Interestingly enough, this is the most revealing of all your essays to date that I have read. And I enjoyed it immensely. I feel kinship with your ideas and words here.

3. djuggler - August 10, 2006

Thanks. I still owe you an essay or two 🙂

4. kristyk - August 10, 2006

Thank you for this comment, I enjoyed it very much. I think it would be fun to talk about sex occasionally, but my parents read my blog and that is just a little weird to me.

5. djuggler - August 10, 2006

I’ve considered blogging the forbidden topics with a password and including the password as well as a word of warning in the subject but that doesn’t take away the weirdness aspect. It only lets you know that you have taken measures to let people police themselves.

6. Latte Man - August 10, 2006

I maintain multiple blogs for the “taboo” things (and things I would rather not be associated by name with).

7. djuggler - August 10, 2006

It is difficult to stay truly anonymous on the Internet. Now I have to go find your taboo blogs 🙂