A small step to join two worlds

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“Responsibility is essential – Maturity, highly overrated.”

-Me

How much of your personal life connects with your work identity?

As I wrote just a few minutes ago on LinkedIn, I’ve never been one who puts up high walls between my personal and work identities. I think anyone who has worked with me would agree with this. True, I may have held back a bit on how I express my identity earlier in my career, but that didn’t last long. I’ve always felt you could be professional and command respect without wearing a different face at work. I have always preferred to “be myself” as much as possible at work and let people in to my life in whatever ways seemed most appropriate. It fits with my credo seen at the top of this post.

Since leaving the workplace more than ten months ago, I’ve kept busy with a whole host of pursuits. One such undertaking has been writing this blog. Until today, people have come to the site by two primary paths: social media (my shares or those by other readers) and via organic web search. A third way is by word of mouth – either from myself or other site viewers. I have shared this site with a handful of former colleagues; primarily those who I consider friends. However, the overwhelming majority of my large professional network is unaware of what I’m doing presently. When I left my last job I updated my LinkedIn profile with my consulting company and left it at that. Why?

What kind of messages would I be sending?

I’ve thought about this for some time and talked about it with a former colleague earlier this morning. That chat is indeed the inspiration for this post! Initially, I think I was concerned about the statement it would make to potential future employers. Wait, what? I thought I “retired” from the corporate world? True, but I was really thinking: “What if I’m wrong about early retirement? Is it risky to share a blog largely concerned with that very topic should I need to go find a job later on?” I’ve gotten over this. After nearly a year, I’m more confident than ever that I made the right choice. In addition, in the unlikely event I’m proven wrong, I have no concerns about my blog, my YouTube channel, or anything I’m doing impeding future job prospects. Would I really want to work for someone who’d hold these things against me anyway?

I think the other hesitation was around the message itself. I built up a large network of former colleagues, vendors, and customers during my 23-year biotech career. I consider this group of talented people a huge asset, and one from which I’ve gained massive leverage at times. Not everyone reacts well to talk of FIRE or the idea leaving one’s career to “do something else”, as I did. Would I alienate anyone with this kind of talk? Should I care if I did? What did I really want to share with this group anyway, and why? When I thought about it, my aims were really just to stay connected. Putting material out on LinkedIn might be a good way to do that in a broad manner. It might also bring interested parties to the blog and the YouTube channel, and open new avenues of exchange with them.

“Alea iacta est” (“The die has been cast”)

Suetonius to Julius Caesar (49 BCE)

So, what did I do? A few minutes before starting this article I wrote a LinkedIn post where I shared my “keys to success” in the workplace series to my entire network of ~2500 connections. I didn’t make some grand announcement of having retired early. My goal wasn’t to do that, or to boast, or anything of that nature. Rather, I saw it as an opportunity to share something I created which I thought would add value. I hope people will read it and perhaps share it with others who might find it useful. Maybe some of my connections will dig further, and read some of the other posts that don’t concern work, and discover what I’m up to? That would be great too, and even more so if it causes them to reach out and connect with me. I guess we shall see! Be not afeard!

image credit: Photo by Lindsay Henwood on Unsplash

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