Does blogging affect work?
Last year, when I started blogging, I didn’t know the answer, or at least, I didn’t want to find out.
I got caught up in the intricate world of blogging, to an extent I was never fascinated with anything else. Not even my day job. The reality was, there were no blog income, where as the salary was more than satisfactory.
First week of February was a wake up call for me. The appraisals for 2011 came in. It was a rude shock to me
How blogging affected my work
For past two years I was assessed as “Exceeding the expectation”, or rated 1. This year I was assessed as “Meeting the expectation”, or rated 2. My manager saw my performance degrading compared to last two years.
On a later one-on-one with my manager (a director), I was pointed to my behavioral changes.
1. My work hours got reduced by an average 1:30 hours a day, it is a right observation, instead of spending 11+ hours, I was spending only 10 or even less. This might sound ridiculous to you but, I am fine with that number of hours. I feel hard work is necessary to grow in career or else you just end up being average.
2. I was not proactive in accepting new challenges. I never asked for more work, which is exactly what an average achiever does, I didn’t exceed his expectation.
3. I wasn’t around when others needed help. During week-end project installations I rarely joined the bridge calls. A few releases failed, although they were not my releases (none of my releases failed in 2011, they never fail) still, I wasn’t there for helping others out when they needed. I only helped on-request, I was not proactive.
4. I didn’t take part in team building events much. This is also a right observation. Instead of mingling with peers and their subordinates, I got busy in my work and my blog. At work my mind always shifted it’s focus to OCAAT.
You may feel these expectations unnecessary and unrealistic. But, when the competition is between high performing people in a high performing team, such things do matter. Irrespective of a team structure, these qualities are expected from an extraordinary achiever anyway.
One of the lessons my dad taught me is “To achieve great success, I need to be the best in my profession”. he was not that successful himself, but he wanted us (I have a brother) to succeed and fulfill his dreams.
So far in my life, I have met every academic and professional challenges. It’s difficult for me to accept and continue with the fact that I am not the best among 15 employees my manager has or 120 employees our VP organization has. There are two other above me on my team (my director’s organization) and more than 5 in our department (VP organization). After being at the top for two years in a row, I suddenly found myself at 6th in just one year.
But, when I see the reasons, I seem to figure the root-cause out. I actually wanted to be the best at work and at blog, together at the same time.
How ridiculous was this aspiration? Its impossible by sheer fact that time is limited and I have only one brain!
The monetary gain/loss
This conflict of interest eventually costed me 2% less increment (I got 3% and the top performing due got 5% each) and $15,000 less yearly bonus payment.
This 2% can cost me more than a million dollar over the next 30 years in reduced salary. And, the $15,000 less bonus means, I have to shell out almost $25,000 dollar more for my 15 years mortgage including additional interest charges.
On the other hand, through this blog I can manage to offset the year-end bonus. Perhaps I can also manage to make-up for that 2% salary if the income streams continues.
But, what about my career aspiration?
Money is not the only thing for us. I look for power and prestige in addition to money. I know I can find happiness from my surrounding. I can stay with family and friends and live a very good social life. I shall be happy. But, that can only satisfy my emotional part of the soul.
The other part of me which wants to see me becoming a successful leader, a change agent and holding a reputable position in corporate ladder, would be unsatisfied. I don’t want to see my current peers boss me around in a few years, which would be a reality if I continue to just meet the targets rather than exceeding the targets.
Probably you see people around you at your work who are too much career focused like myself. And, you hate them, right? They happen to be one of the reasons you want to get off the day job and exit the rat race. No, I don’t find anything wrong with your thinking that way. We should listen to our hearts and do accordingly what it says.
If it wants you to quit, quit. A lot of my fellow bloggers have quit and are quitting. They are doing just fine off the day job.
I am not quitting, right now my heart is urging me to take up the challenge to be an extraordinary achiever in 2012.
Then, what about this blog?
Time Allocation, Blog vs. Work
As of now I still love blogging and continue to write, even more than last year. A good comment on blog still gives me more satisfaction than a good feedback at work.
My plan is to reduce the non satisfactory but essential blog work by outsourcing them. I may hire exceptional staff writers who can also share their lives with you in addition to talking about a few tips here and there.
Sadly I didn’t meet a single staff writer who really share their personal life in their posts written for blogs they staff write on, they do it only on their own blogs. I am waiting for such writers.
I may outsource even more blog work sooner, once the income stabilize. I am also planning to set fixed time for each blogging activity. For example
- 30 mins a day for commenting and replying to comments.
- 1 hours for reading blog posts.
- 1.30 hours in writing/proof reading my own posts. I take more than 2 hours for each posts. I write, erase and re-write my posts. Thoughts occur to me in my mother tongue and then they get translated to English. It takes time and I need to improve that.
- 10 mins in replying to mails and tweets, I can even do it on breaks during work through my iPhone.
- 20 mins in Blog related research including SEO and other ideas.
I think allocating specific time for each activity would allow me to be more efficient while letting me concentrate at work and possibly reallocating the time save to work.
I will also change a few of my behaviors at work.
- Increased hours spent, which I spoke about already.
- I will not open stats page and continue refreshing every hour.
- I will only check mails and Tweets when I am in a boring-and-nothing-to-do meetings or while on coffee/tea breaks.
- I will go out of my seat more often and mingle with my peers and subordinates more. Asking if they need help.
Basically I will go back to the state I once was. will give my best shot this year to do better at work and at blog.
Other ways your blog can affect your work
I haven’t so far talked about other affects your blog may have on your work. Because I haven’t faced them yet, and this article is about the problems I am facing, not what problems you could face in addition to these.
But for this article to live up to the title, let me list the things that can go against you when your employer finds out your blogging ventures.
1. Do not reveal company secrets. Your blog consists of public contents. You should not talk about or reveal your company secrets on your blog. If you do, you can face termination.
2. You are not the representative. You should not pretend to be a spokesman for your employer. You can’t protest a bad publicity for your employer through your blog. There are spokes persons for this task, if required, its their duty to make public statements.
3. Do not advertise employer products. You can’t advertise products and services for your employer on your blog unless you have a special arrangement with your marketing department. Still you have to disclose your affiliation. be default you are not authorized to advertise for your company.
4. Do not criticize your employer. You can’t publicly do that if you want to keep the job.
Violation of any of these rules can lead to your employment termination. Next time your employer asks you to certify policy guidelines (or whatever name they have for it), be careful to read thoroughly. Your blog may be violating a clause or two there.
Fellow bloggers, what at-work challenges you are facing due to increased focus on your blog?
Are you excelling at both or doing average job on both? Many of us are satisfied with an average performance and few aspire for more. Where you are?