Work-life balance is a tricky thing. I’ve always maintained that I keep a clean separation between my personal life and my work life, and that it has done wonders for keeping me sane through some insane stretches at work. But I’m finding things beginning to blur these boundaries, and I’m really curious as to where it’s going to take me.
Obviously, getting this blog ramped up took some time, time I didn’t want to take away from my productive office time (let the snide remarks begin!), so most of that was done at home. I’ve been writing blog posts at home, started twittering on my work account at home, etc. Late Tuesday night I was searching through Twitter for fellow EMC employees and wanted to check something on the intranet, and stopped myself short realizing I would be at work in 8 short hours and could check then.
What’s interesting to me is that I already keep myself busy doing these sorts of things socially, in ways that I’ve kept separate from work for years. I don’t talk about work when I’m posting on my video game forums, and I don’t post an RSS feed into my netflix queue in my work blog. It’s almost like having two separate identities. But the lines start to blur when people are twittering about the new Iron Man movie, just like they blur when I go home and decide to write a work blog post instead of logging into World of Warcraft. They blur a little further when individuals straddle the lines with me — family and close friends who live in both worlds.
Honestly, I don’t know where it’s going. And it’s only going to get more complex.
Take this a step further, and look at the new crew of college students, for whom these lines might not even exist. When you’ve twittered and facebooked your way through college and start your professional life, are you going to suddenly create this new online persona for your professional world, so your boss who might follow you on twitter won’t stumble on to you saying “totally drunk right now, will be hung over tomorrow”? Probably not. You’ll just morph and adapt those personas and they’ll grow as you grow. These people will just present one face to the world. But the people hiring them are not ready for that face yet, are they?
But they will be. Because those people will eventually be the ones in charge.
The world is changing (what else is new?). How different will this world look when the kids who had trouble getting jobs because someone found a picture of them partying in Cancun on their myspaces are now in charge of hiring at Fortune 500 companies? What kind of fences will we have then?