Posted by: Bin VFA | August 7, 2012

Anonymity vs openness

It’s not in my nature to hide.  I’m not what anyone would call an extrovert or particularly loud or overly outgoing even, but open is something I generally am.  Yet here, for now at least, I am cautious.  As I have a child to support I do need to be weary of doing anything that could jeopardise my regular income.  To be honest I’m not completely sure where to draw the line.  And this is one of the things that so far has stopped me from blogging more.  Ideas in my head involve snippets of myself and my life.  And which ones are ‘safe’ to share and which are maybe not so far.  I can also say things that have been left out later on, but it’s not so easy to take back what is already out there.

My boss has already told me that if the thought had occurred to check Facebook when I was recruited that it would have been enough to ensure that I wasn’t considered for the job.  Based on mere snippets of information about myself, that I am vegan and I love Harry Potter is about it really.  So what if there were some more telling information out there?  What if I were to be open about my thoughts on feminism and religion in the way that I hope to be here, but I have personal details attached such that somebody could find me in a search when I’m looking for another job.  Part of me would like to say that I’d not like to work for someone that would judge me so easily that way.  But the fact is, I do now and well, it pays the bills and is frankly convenient in many ways that make it easy to overlook a lot of things.  Not so much others but still on the weight of the options, for now it wins.  And finding a suitable job really isn’t that easy.

By the same token, when I am at work, I often don’t say things that I would if I felt more secure in my career and position.  Things that I feel I should say.  Things that, by not saying, I feel like I’m letting the side down so to speak.  There was a racist email at work today.  It wasn’t sent to me because people know I don’t like that kind of thing.  I speak up enough to make that clear.  But I saw it on a colleague’s screen when I was standing nearby.  There was so much I wanted to say.  And if it was a non-work environment I would have.  But I didn’t.  I just felt a little sadder knowing the list of people, that I talk to on a daily basis and mostly like, that were reading it and nodding away.

Drawing a line between standing up for things that are important while still not jeopardising life and career is a tricky one.

This is one of the things that I truly admire about Jamie Kilstein and Allison Kilkenny of Citizen Radio.  They don’t sell out for anything, even when it meant they didn’t have anywhere to live.  I couldn’t do that and probably wouldn’t even if I didn’t have a child to worry about.  Yet I admire that enormously.  And now I need to figure out exactly where, somewhere between that and completely selling out (which I couldn’t do either) I will place myself.


  1. I quite understand. I also blog anonymously. I have a community chorus that I’m involved in the leadership of, and religious bosses, so I keep quiet personally, even at times when I really want to speak up. I’m not on Facebook, for that very reason. Some of the people that I work with would not be pleased at all with the people I am friends with online, and by not having a Facebook page it’s easier to keep those two worlds separate.

    Your boss would not have hired you based on your being vegan and liking Harry Potter? Wow, you are right to keep your head down. Feeding our kids and keeping a roof over their head has to take priority, even if it means screaming in frustration internally.

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