Taking your Hobbies to Work

Clearly I blog in my spare time, that’s how the words you’re reading got here. When I decided to start doing this, I made a deliberate decision to avoid work content to write about. I wanted to investigate other areas of my life and not make my career expand into personal time. That’s served me well but I also enjoy the work that I do because there’s so much interesting thought and practice around my profession. For more details, look me up on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn - Where the personal and professional meet.
LinkedIn – Where the personal and professional meet.
Last year when I helped form a new group in my company, I put a lot of thought into what I wanted to be known for and how that reputation would overlap the team’s mission. I kept blogging on a personal level and strove for growth while my new role was developing. The extracurricular work and thought helped spur several work friends into taking stock of their own situations and expand their own confidence. I made a conscious effort to have what I term an “open source personality” (part 1 of my mANDifesto). That led to a good deal of mentoring and career discussions at work.

The second part of my mANDifesto on the job was to work to look for ideas and push my vision of what the future holds. This naturally helps me paint a picture with customers in meetings and also with coworkers when we talk. Earlier this year, it became apparent that following through with the mANDifesto meant sharing more of this inside the company. That’s when I started sending interesting news articles to various groups who I thought should be interested. As I started tracking engagement (I work in the digital marketing space), I noticed traction in what I sent.

This finally led to bringing my extracurricular blogging to my day job. I’ve now got a regular newsletter pointing to useful articles inside our business, others written to be customer-facing, and relevant industry news and trends from around the Internet. I also started writing  articles to publish internally which bring my own ideas to these subjects to help us go to market.

There are a couple rewarding points to this. One is that my own “brand” is extended at work. It takes demonstrated leadership to put together a project like this and have it be relevant while avoiding an annoyance factor. Tracking engagement with the newsletter and seeing colleagues re-post the content socially for their networks to read helps me understand I’m having an impact and being valuable.  The other aspect which is tremendously satisfying is seeing my colleagues get excited and create their own content. Many of the people I do mentoring work with deepen their on-the-job passions and share their insights in this way. Fostering creative confidence in others on-the-job helps me learn as well. I work with plenty of bright individuals and I learn through their efforts.

I still wish to keep the work and personal blogs separate though the line will blur at times. They both serve their own purposes but also have some common elements. If I can sit down at a keyboard, have others read what I’ve got to say, and inspire some thoughts, then those purposes are served.


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