I get asked about my Secret Work-From-Home Day Job a lot. Like, a LOT. I think it’s because people are curious about how I keep the bills paid, but there’s also a fair amount of mystification: What kind of job could possibly be so important that Ian feels the need to hide it with such exaggeration?
First off, my Day Job’s nothing special or important—it’s actually pretty boring. But I still don’t talk about it online because I think it’s bad form for anyone (creative person or otherwise) to talk about their Day Jobs online in ways that aren’t pertinent to their professional lives. It’d be one thing if I were starting an amazing new job spreading humanitarian aid to war-torn Middle Eastern countries and I was super passionate about it—damned straight I’d want to share it with people! Of course, if that was the case, it definitely wouldn’t be a Day Job.
I don’t say my company name or even the specifics of my Secret Work-From-Home Day Job online, but I will tell you that I do it at my computer, during scheduled times of the day, for a wage that includes overtime if I work more than 40 hours in a week. Sometimes I work a crazy number of hours, and sometimes I don’t work at all, leaving me more time for creative work. Most of the time the work is excruciatingly boring and repetitive, but there are highlights, and some days are easier than others.
That’s really all that matters as far as this blog goes. Here’s a quick rundown of my reasoning:
Saying the Name of Your Company Online Makes You More Googleable (In a Bad Way)
This is hands-down the biggest reason for my silence: if I ever got in trouble with my Day Job and they had reason to check me out, all they’d have to do is Google “Ian Rogers [INSERT COMPANY NAME]” and they’d find this blog, the title of which makes it clear that my priorities lie not with them, but with my writing.
This could be especially bad if they stumbled on some of my more virulent entries, such as my thoughts on unpaid overtime, toxic workplace environments, or working for your weekends. That would probably reflect poorly on my character come performance evaluation time
Having your coworkers find out about your blog can also cause more serious trouble, like it did for this guy who blogged about the atmosphere at the for-profit Japanese school where he was teaching. He was asked to remove the offending opinions, then suffered from severe disciplinary action that affected his entire work experience. In his case, he revealed his real attitudes about his company and his job in a way that made his coworkers seriously question his loyalty, and it made his working life a lot more difficult.
While Japan is a bit harsher about this than the States, during my time there I learned a lot from the Japanese ideas of honne and tatemae, which involve adapting a different persona in the workplace and a different persona at home. Keeping work stuff at work makes it easier to keep a clear head during your personal time, and keeping personal stuff out of the workplace keeps you more focused and makes you a better worker, which helps you maintain a more productive attitude overall. Having a Day Job where I have to shut off my real goals and persona isn’t the way I want to live my entire life, but for now, it helps me get where I need to go.
If Your Company Has Confidentiality Rules, You’re More Likely to Get in Trouble
The online stakes are a bit higher for me because my company maintains some pretty strict confidentiality rules, and when I first started working for them I signed a long, intimidating contract saying I wouldn’t reveal any company information on social media or blogs (*ahem*).
Not that I’d ever reveal any real confidential info online (because that’s when things get REALLY bad), but since the line between what’s confidential and what isn’t can be a gray one, I find it best not to take any chances.
The Exact Nature of My Day Job Doesn’t Really Matter
Philosophically speaking, the most important reason I don’t talk about my Day Job is that nobody gives a fuck.
That’s right—me bitching about my Day Job definitely isn’t going to keep people reading, while giving you any other specifics would be so boring that they’d just weigh down any entry I could possibly write. If what I’m writing about doesn’t tie back to creative work, what’s the point?
What I do when I’m at my Secret Work-From-Home Day Job isn’t really important—the only things that matter are the attitude I have about it and the material conditions surrounding it (time commitment, money, stress level, etc.), since those are the things that make it easier or harder to accomplish my creative goals. That’s it.
How This Helps You
My primary goal is to make my Day Job philosophies as relevant to you (the reader!) as possible, whether you work in an insurance office or a welding shop. The last thing I want is for people to feel alienated from my experiences because they think my circumstances are too different from theirs because in reality, all work is really the same and it’s only our attitude about it that matters.
I started this blog because I wanted to sort through the chaos of work, money, passion, goals, bills, feeling fulfilled, and getting closer to the life you want. You can have a Day Job, live-for-your-weekends attitude whether you’re a waiter or a tax lawyer, a used car salesman or an electrician, a physics professor or a postal worker, as long as it’s what helps you move closer to your real goals.
So rather than wasting a bunch of time on work specifics, I’d much rather write something you can relate to, because that’s what makes you think, and what ultimately helps you move toward a better life.