renice.com web


Sunday, January 25, 2004

More about being public...  

When I first posted my personal website in 1994, I did catch some flak about making too much personal info available to who-knows-what-lurking-psychos. (Note that the guy who was the loudest alarm on this topic turned out to be one of the bigger psychos I've ever dated.) I took the leap though and, other than an overabundance of spam, have never noticed any negative results.

It is true, however, that I once didn't hire a CS student because of his personal site and I wouldn't be at all surprised if there are employers who hadn't hired me because of mine. On the other hand, I nearly always put one of my pro-choice pieces into my design portfolio because full disclosure seemed a better route than trying to work with someone who couldn't tolerate my viewpoints. So it was after some internal debate that I decided a personal website would be an interesting social experiment in controlled disclosure.

After only a few months, I declared the experiment successful. (Of course that was over 9 years ago – the site may be more damaging now that I don't keep it up to date or on the edge.) At the time, I had had a hard time with former co-workers' preconceptions of who I was. My appearance, style, and demeanor, as well as labels such as 'woman', 'feminist', and 'artist' (and now 'middle-aged' under both the label and appearance categories) seemed to undermine an awful lot of my working relationships. It often took an entire year or two to dispel many preconceptions and reach reasonable working relationships. The points when people would begin reassessing their presumptions about me invariably were marked with comments such as, "You're not like I thought you were."

When I posted my personal site, I had just started working with a new group. After I mentioned my new site (remember, it was a novelty then, and I was the only person in the group with one – in fact, there were still people in the group who had never opened a web browser), my co-workers seemed to reach their reassessment points within days, rather than months or years. I stayed with the group for nearly 5 years before I was offered a position in NYC, and it was the most comfortable I had yet been with workmates.

[Enough for now – 12 padded feet are beginning to stamp impatiently for breakfast. Next entry I'll be extrapolating from The President's Analyst.]


Post a Comment