The Difference Between Work & Life

TL;DR: My opinions are my own, but sometimes I gotta pay the bills. I’m also not willing to win a flame war only to lose my job.

Henri Ducad/Ra’s Al Ghul: Mind your surroundings, always
Bruce Wayne: Yield!
Ducard: You haven’t beaten me. You just sacrificed sure footing for a killing stroke.

In “Batman Begins” Bruce learned that maintaining a focus on one’s surroundings is sometimes more important than the actions of one’s opponent or goal.

For sure, one cannot focus on surroundings to the exclusion of the opponent or goal, but rather it is a constant juggling of attention, or (for the technical readers) rapid task switching if not true multi-tasking.

The reason I bring this up is because now, more than ever, I have to mind my surroundings.

My job as SolarWinds HeadGeek – my dream job, I might add – affords me the chance to write articles in a wide variety of publications, to speak at a variety of conferences, and to be active on social media as part of my job. 

I mean, how cool is that? I get PAID to tweet, blog, like, follow, pin, instagram, and more!

BUT… it comes with a pricetag – I’m expected to be professional. Which most of the time is not a big deal. I *like* being professional. I think being polite, kind, positive, encouraging, insightful, introspective, self-deprecating, and (when I’m lucky) funny is kind of my jam. 

Never the less, there are things that push my buttons. It could be an act (whether personal or corporate) that I see as un-just; or an event that touches on a cause that is important to me; or a technical choice that rubs me the wrong way. 

Or maybe I’m just ornery that day.

The challenge is that the trade-off for getting to write and speak and tweet is that I represent more than just me. If I lose my cool and call someone a flaming jack-wagon on Facebook, it’s not just Leon’s opinion (no matter how many “opinions are my own” disclaimers I put in my profile). Effectively, I and the company I represent have just called someone a flaming jack-wagon. 

And that is what we call in IT circles a “Resume generating event”. 

SO… this is a reminder (which I will link to on social media from time to time) that:

  • I am me. A person with opinions about life, religion, politics, food, operating systems (Linux!), tabs vs spaces (SPACES!), and whether it’s the network’s fault (it’s never the network)
  • I am also (and, I should add, PROUDLY) a HeadGeek for SolarWinds

Sometimes my public activity will be part of “paying the bills”. In the middle of a social event you’ll see me tweet about the next episode of SolarWinds Lab. Or I may be strangely silent about the thing everyone is talking about. 

That doesn’t mean I’m a shill for the man, or that my account is operated by a soul-less corporate robot. It just means that I have to mind my surroundings, and make sure that I’m not sacrificing the sure footing of my platform and support for the fleeting glory of a temporary victory.