“Don’t think of your website as a self-promotion machine, think of it as a self-invention machine.”
― Austin Kleon,
Even though tremendous strides have been taken to promote flexible working, equality of pay, awareness of the competing demands on women when their domestic responsibilities come up against the strictures of a conventional work schedule, we still seem to be failing when it comes to attracting them into certain workplaces, certain occupations and up to the top in just about anything. Whilst there are a good many studies and stats relating to this phenomenon I certainly don’t believe it’s just women who seem to be asserting, by witholding participation, a need to reconfigure the nature and demands of work. Young people too are manifesting a palpable cynicism re the traditional recipes for career ‘success’ – what the traditional pathways seem to demand by way of input and what they deliver in return is seen increasingly as inequitable and unpalatable.
When this mood, this nagging discontent, begins to fuse with the apparently limitless onward march of digitization and automation, the nature of the contribution to society real, human ‘workers’ are likely to offer in the future starts to look more like some massive exercise in universal outsourcing than anything else.
Simply on the basis of having raised, educated and launched a couple of kids myself, combined with the experience of my own freelance endeavours, I can see that the shift is already gathering momentum.
There’s a suggestion at the end of these observations – I would call it a ‘tip’ but I think that might make me seem less serious than I am. I’m 100% serious.
I believe it’s become nothing less than common sense for each and every one of us to build and maintain a personal website representing our working and our skills profile, evolving as we individually evolve. You don’t need to have a business, or a consultancy or anything else of a commercial nature on the go to do this to beneficial effect. Make your name your brand. When you start, a single page is sufficient. But do start. Today. https://wordpress.com/ is free, user-friendly, good looking but there are many other brands offering templates for you to choose from.
Make sure you retain full editorial control of your site; its design, it’s layout, it’s content (especially it’s content) . Never get into the position where you’re dependent on external help whenever you want to change something, along with the expense of that help, not to mention its timely availability. Your site must develop organically and pretty constantly, along with you and your life experience. One of the most important yet overlooked things developing your site will do for you is allow you to discover, over time, who you are and what you have to offer that’s different. It’s a tool for self-research and self-invention. Along the way, if this process is to be effective, you’ll need the opportunity to make mistakes and put them right, to review and delete, to hone the multi-facetted digital you until you have a realtime twin.
Authenticity is the new currency. Anything else is now regarded as completely flavorless if not actually repellant. THIS IS BRILLIANT NEWS. Far from being hard to achieve, presenting yourself authentically means you no longer have to be flawless, glamorous, cool, set apart by some fake, over-hyped superiority. Your authentic self – not exactly ‘warts-and-all’ but with an unapologetic glimpse at the warts from time to time – is intrinsically valuable because it’s relatable and discernibly true.
You might feel that, while you’re in employment, a personal website is a bit over the top. I suggest though, you get on and build it anyway, get the practice in, find out what you can do. Prepare for the time when this cheap-to-build but potentially very-valuable-to-own tool of self-realization might become part of your life-creation weaponry. In making this suggestion I have absolutely no doubt that time will come.
PS WordPress is not paying me for this… 🙂 and before you start wringing your hands about the state of a world where things like this are becoming necessary and normal, let me assure you it’s a concept as old as the hills with a very spiritual core. “Self-knowledge is the beginning of self-improvement.” Baltasar Gracian (google him)