Monday, 18 June 2018

You said *what* about me?

I’ve put off writing about my experiences at work for a long time now.

Basically everyone I have ever worked with has asked, expected or demanded me to write something about lessons I’ve learnt and how my career path is shaping out. I’ve been asked to write about my day-to-day interactions with people, the decision making processes I go through, and the frustrations and challenges that I face as I go.

This is all very well, and would possibly be interesting to others, but it comes with some fairly significant issues.

  1. These people will probably want to read it
  2. It’ll be based largely on my interactions with them
  3. I’d like them to hire me to work with them in future.

So this creates a strong wish to self-censor.

I would like to write about specific conversations where I left thinking “Seriously? What was that all about? Do they even know what I’m doing here? Am I really this misunderstood?”, which rapidly transitions to “It must be me. I didn’t explain the issue correctly, or I’m not understanding the angle they’re coming to the problem at, so I’m taking their comments out of the correct context”. It would start to read like my someones private diary.

The obvious solution to this is to redact details, and describe these interactions in a vague and distant way. That sounds reasonable. Except until recently I’ve normally only worked with one person at a time, and they will definitely recognise themselves if I describe even a minor part of a project we’ve worked on together.

Another route would be to remove all references to any humans I’ve had any form of communication with, and just list the facts. Which would be boring. And it would be my version of the facts, which is unfair and probably misleading.

So, what to do?

I think I’ll have to keep any anecdotes described here to anything I would say in public, with the other person present. In some cases I have actually recited conversations back to a group, as part of an example to prove a point, and I try to ensure the other person would be happy with me saying these things out in the open.

Even so, I can be pretty sure that if anyone I know actually reads this, they’ll find something that they feel misrepresents their viewpoint, and for that I’m very sorry. I’ll try to keep the defamation and libel to a minimum.

But, for the most part, you literally did ask me to do it.

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