Like many folks, I find the change of years a time to contemplate what’s happened and what I hope will come. Inevitably reviewing the past makes me think about how I want the future to be different, which in turn leads to resolutions, explicit and implicit.
In his excellent blog, ‘Neuronarrative,’ David DiSalvo looks at whether or not making a public commitment leads to better follow through. Turns out it does, for those with both high and low susceptibility to normative influence (SNI); that is, the degree with which you care about others’ opinions of your actions. In DiSalvo’s article he is looking specifically at weight loss, but the principle holds for many tasks (by the way, I am planning to run or walk 1,000 miles this coming year for exercise. Public enough? I think so…).
As I thought over the past couple of weeks about what I want to be different going forward, I thought about my last blog post, where I discussed the City of Bellingham’s just-passed budget. I also reflected on the time when I began this blog, nearly three years ago. At the time, I wanted to test myself; see if I could produce reasonable output for a blog. I produced 25 blogs during that initial run, generally running about 700 words in length, or about the length of an op-ed column in our local newspaper. To me that showed I could.
At that time, I was looking for work, and as I was writing my pieces, I realized that examining potential employees’ social media presence is a growing trend in hiring decisions. While none of my posts were patently offensive–at least to my own eyes–I realized that at times I would remark on issues, like same sex marriage, that were divisive; the kind of issues that might lead an employer to pass on a hire. So I mostly stopped blogging. Then I found work, and found I was otherwise occupied–though in hindsight, that was a choice; I could have also made the choice to blog on.
As we enter 2015, I find myself once again unemployed (or self-employed, if you prefer. I am working on a project which promises a future income stream, but the bills are piling up i the interim, so it feels a lot like being unemployed) and looking for meaningful and paid employment. At the same time, I find myself wanting to blog regularly, believing that some–besides myself–find my thoughts interesting and at times informative. What to do?
This time, I’ve decided I will blog, and damn the consequences. Well, not damn the consequences, but rather have a little faith in those hiring. I’ve been mayor of a city of 80,000 people; of course I have opinions. Everyone has opinions, and most should be fodder for discussion, not exclusion. That’s how progress can be made.
I can explain reasons for any of my opinions to those wanting to know, a positive quality in the areas where I’m looking for work–generally in government relations, communications, or project management. If an HR Director reads my blog pieces hopefully she or he will recognize that I have some communication skills. If there are areas of controversy, hopefully those are taken as having a willingness to take a position; if there are areas of profound disagreement between myself and a potential employer to the extent that it affects the hiring decision, I need to have faith that that’s probably for the best, too.
So I’m back, on a regular basis. My goal is to blog daily on most weekdays; a minimum of three times per week. All blog postings will show up on bona fide leadership; many will be posted to BigPictureLongTerm.com, too, if there is an element of sustainability in the piece. Put in an annual numerical commitment, I will author 150 blog posts in 2015, on whatever moves me. Generally I pay attention broadly to current affairs in the region, state and world, finding ideas to share from what’s happening. For many years now, that focus has often been through a filter of what is sustainable, or how actions affect sustainability, as well as just ruminating on what ‘sustainability’ means. And in response to some local inquiries, yes, some articles will involve a further examination of the City of Bellingham’s budget.
I look forward to 2015, and hope you join me in these conversations.