“It must be so nice to work from home,” my friends say. Sure, it was well after lunchtime when I got dressed yesterday. There’s a lot to be said for working in really comfortable (read: “fat”) pants. There’s little joys like sitting on the couch in those fat-pants as the sun streams in. Some guy just wandered past in a navy and white checkered one-piece short-suit. While I don’t understand it, on some level it pleased me.
But with great power (…to loll about in shapeless clothing and visit my fridge at will) comes great responsibility. Being largely self-employed, I always have my eye out for the next gig. I’m at the mercy of the business community to an extent, so there’s a degree of civility I’m forced to maintain in public. I mean, I was never the kind to down Jello shots and take selfies to post on Facebook, but what if I was? Inclined to, I mean. What if I wanted to be completely honest about who I really am and what I really think?
It came back to bite me the other morning when I “liked” the Facebook page of a certain political figure. A friend (and client) of mine who happens to be of the opposite political ilk immediately poked fun. We’ve always engaged in this good-natured ribbing, but it opens the question about what other/potential clients may choose to glean from my political leanings and social media activity.
School District #68 is in the category of things I’ve never held back about. This blog chronicled my growing displeasure with my son’s education and, ultimately, our exit from the public school system. (He’s doing very, very well in his new alternative learning centre, by the way.) There’s no political capital to be gained or lost, a snowball’s chance in hell that our district would ever hire me, so I’ve never been compelled to hold back here, online, or in the media.
But at the risk of alienating potential clients, there are a lot of things I do hold back. It’s the price you pay for living in a small town on a small island in a world made all the smaller by this vast repository of information called “the internet”. My tongue is raw from the biting. There’s a local project that’s eating $100k of taxpayer’s money, but as much as it’s a ridiculous waste, I don’t have the luxury of sharing my thoughts publicly. There’s the political figure I have some unseemly information on, stuff that would kill the number of “likes” s/he’s grabbing on Facebook, but I owe it to my source to keep that to myself while people I respect get snowed. And then another figure, well-connected and active in business circles, organizes multiple fundraisers in town… S/he’s a viper whose allegiances turn on a dime and shouldn’t be approached without elbow-length chainmail gloves, but cunningly keeps the wool pulled over everyone’s eyes and I just watch. You get the picture…
*Names are withheld to protect the innocent, which is me, not these shysters, philanderers, thieves, and liars. This town is lousy with ’em. Caveat emptor.
So yes, it’s nice to work from home, but the fat-pants come with a price, and that price is my silence. I wish it were easier to draw a line between my personal and professional selves, one that didn’t involve changing my title to “Barista” or setting up some sort of Anonymous-like identity online. Separation of who I am and what I do, it’s just not a luxury I have any more. Do any of us though?