In any case, now that I am finished promoting a site that is not my own (you are welcome, FoT)…there were two entries of note over the last week. One was Kris Dunn’s HR People Think They Are Ugly and Marissa Keegan’s Your Family is Dysfunctional, You Should Write About It. Both struck a chord with me. Kris’ post talked about HR folks not being able to fully utilize social media because we do not like being in front of the camera. If you have been following my meteoric rise to social media fame, you know I am not particularly shy about posting pictures of myself; in fact I made a crucial error in judgement posting a certain picture. I recently received a t-shirt that I believed would put to rest any doubts that I was hip, happening and with it as far as music is concerned. I took a picture of myself in this t-shirt and shared it with my network. The picture I was hoping would cement my place in Awesome Music Taste history told an entirely different story altogether. Instead of having comments acknowledging my connections, my hipness, etc…my comment section was filled with other types of comments, that while flattering failed to acknowledge my brilliant taste in music and instead, provided a ringing endorsement to La Senza and the ability of their undergarments to make much ado out of very little. I tell this amusing and self-deprecating anecdote as a cautionary tale…by all means, let people see the real you, just remember that your message may not be received as intended.
In all seriousness, it is a scary thing to have to put yourself out there. Like Marissa says, as HR professionals, our employees or our clients look to us to have it all together so that we can deal with the sticky situations that inevitably arise in any organization. Being transparent and appearing human can be a frightening prospect for someone who is called into some of the messiest situations that people can serve up. Does a potential client who is dealing with a sexual harassment issue want to hire a consultant who openly admits that she has a crush on the 24 year old intern? It is a very fine line, indeed. We all make mistakes; we all make errors in judgment, and it would take a bigger person than I am to openly talk about them with great regularity. I am continually impressed with some of the bloggers/social media gurus out there who talk candidly about themselves. I do think it is important to acknowledge that as we progress through our working lives, we continue to learn. It is only through making mistakes that we are able to learn. Being a big enough person to be able to teach others through your own humanness should be applauded. For example, I have learned that camera angle can make an innocent picture look like an ad for certain sections of Craigslist.
Disclaimer: there is no 24 year old intern, however, there is a certain t-shirt.