Balancing a Blog and a 9-5: Things to Consider Before You Hit Publish

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For the majority of the six years since I started seriously blogging (meaning: publicly sharing my posts, putting money into design and self-hosting, and remaining consistent), I’ve balanced it with a full-time job. When I started out, I knew that time management would be of utmost importance.

But, if you’re balancing blogging with career, there are a few other things to consider before you hit “publish.”

Balancing a Blog and a 9-5- Things to Consider Before You Hit Publish

Are there any conflicts of interest between your blog and your job?

If you’re a vacuum salesperson with Company 123, you might want to think before you publish that glowing blog post about rival Company ABC. Many employers have “conflict of interest” policies in place to protect the integrity of their brand and to draw parameters around employees, who are seen as representatives of the business – even in activities outside of work. If your blog somehow affects the financial interests or reputation of your employer, you may encounter issues. Make it a point to review your company’s conflict of interest policy to ensure that you won’t be in violation as you indulge in your blogging passions.

How much of yourself will you reveal online?

Blogging authentically is important for me, and including photos of myself is part of that. It’s not necessary for everyone in order to honestly tell whatever story they want to tell, but you have to consider what you’ll reveal and what you’ll keep private online.

I write under my nickname online. “Bee” is a very shortened version of my first name, and “Quammie” is my married surname. My employer knew me as (Full first name) + (Maiden surname), so I thought that would provide a buffer between my offline and online lives. If coworkers Googled me by the name they knew me as, they wouldn’t find anything linking to my blog, so I thought I was safe! “Thought” being the operative word, but more on that later.

When I write about my family, I use aliases for them as well. It’s important for me to protect parts of their identity online, and I’m always conscious that stories that I share about us aren’t solely mine. I let my husband review posts that involve him before I publish, and until I can do the same with my toddler daughter, I’m careful about telling stories that may affect her later. Nothing I write is particularly salacious, but keeping in mind that people who work with me offline may read my blog, I always consider how vulnerable I’m willing to be.

Will you write under a nickname or alias? Will you show pictures of yourself and/or your loved ones? Will you talk about what you do for work? Tip: if you decide to go stealth mode, remember to set up blog and social media accounts with an email address different from the one your work has access to. Think back: did you use a personal email to apply for the job? Avoid that one for all things blog.

Are you prepared for what might happen if your job finds out about your blog?

When I launched my blog, I was sure to not speak about it at work. That didn’t stop my blog from becoming the topic of watercooler conversation, and it was a life-changing experience.

I had a coworker who wasn’t too fond of me. She ended up finding out my married surname, and Googled me. Through an extremely convoluted process at the time, this coworker stumbled upon my blog. She printed it out, highlighted portions she felt were “offensive,” and delivered it to our agency’s executive director. The executive director brought the package to my boss, who called me into his office and asked, “Do you have a blog?”

Again, though I wrote under a different name, my photos are prominent on my site, and my boss knew that I didn’t have an identical twin. I never wrote about work or anything offensive, so I admitted that I did. Through our conversation, my boss was able to see that my blog provided no conflict of interest or other issue with work, and any talk of discipline from senior management was shut down. That didn’t mean that talk of my blog disappeared, so I had to get used to fielding questions and conversations about my site before I was comfortable doing so.

Best advice? Imagine what a conversation might look like if a coworker or executive brings up your blog. Remember the importance of intentional writing, and if you can’t defend your post, don’t publish it.

Can your blogging skills help your career?

I ended up leaving the job that made much ado about nothing over my blog and found that I was gradually able to merge my online and offline lives for the betterment of my career.

I was originally in a career that had nothing to do with blogging, but the skills I acquired through writing, website development, and basically all things media/communications gave me a new set of tools with which to promote myself and enter a new career path. Instead of being a separate identity and passion from my job, blogging has helped me to evolve in my career and experience things I wouldn’t have otherwise.

As you can see through some of my experiences, there’s a lot more to consider when it comes to managing a blog and career than simply time management. Hopefully, you’re more prepared to launch that blog or look at future (or past!) posts with a new eye. Protect your passion, protect your paycheck, and enjoy the best of both worlds!

Bee Quammie is a blogger and freelance writer based in the Greater Toronto Area. Her writing has been featured in publications like EBONY, The Globe & Mail, VICE, and more. Learn more about her work via her site beequammie.com.

Images: Creative Lab/Shutterstock.com and