There is a fine line between a person’s professional life and their personal life nowadays. No, I don’t mean that a person’s personal life is almost identical to their professional life (although, depending on the person, sometimes it is). What I mean by this, is that with today’s technological connection to practically anything and everything, what you do in your personal life can easily end up online for millions of people to see. Whether accounts of your personal life were place online by yourself, a friend, or a stranger, it is nonetheless up there for all eyes to explore.
So when I say that there is a fine line between someone’s personal and professional life, I say it in a cautionary sense. Everyone has the right and freedom to live their life the way they want to. If you work as a refined and notable accountant on Wall Street during the day, and party like it’s 1999 when the sun goes down, then it isn’t anyone’s business but yours. However, I have witnessed very many people, both young and old, who publicly post their crazy private lives, usually inappropriate, all over their social media for coworkers and even bosses to see. Then when someone doubts their professionalism, these people get offended, become over protective of themselves and do their best to justify their actions.
This may just be my personal opinion, or could be an opinion shared by many others… if you want to continue being seen as reputable and professional in the workplace, you have to keep certain parts of your personal life private! To give a prime example of someone who wouldn’t be professionally respected because of their personal life, I’ll share a quick story about a girl I went to high school with who I now keep up with over
social media. I’ll refer to her as Penny, in order to protect her identity.
Penny and I were in the same grade in high school and took a lot of the same classes together. She was a bright student who liked to ask questions and was generally involved in the student body. She was a cute girl, naturally pretty and fit, and had a nice personality. She became interested in the marketing program on our campus, and dedicated herself to that club/program all throughout high school. By her senior year, Penny wold proudly tell her peers and teachers that she wanted to work with a reputable marketing company by the time she graduated college.
Around the end of the year when people were making sure they added each other on social media before leaving for college, Penny added me on her favorite social media platform, Instagram. After adding her back, I decided to see what she enjoyed posting about. I was not prepared for what I was about to see.
There were half naked photos of Penny all over her account, with her hair done up and with loads of makeup on her face. Under her comments section there were all types of boys and actual men commenting how “sexy” she was and how they “wanted to see more of her.” I was in shock, this couldn’t have been the same girl could it?! I thought I had accidentally clicked on someone else’s page. I honestly had thought I had stumbled upon the Instagram page of a porn star. I haven’t spoken to or seen Penny since graduation, but according to her Instagram page, she hasn’t seemed to change her ways since then. All of this would be absolutely fine and no one’s business… except her page is not private! It is open for anyone to look at!!! Imagine her future bosses looking her up on social media and then coming to her Instagram page. The smart, hardworking, and marketing-savvy Penny would never get a chance to show her skills in the workplace. She would never get hired just based off of the pictures she posted.
Now, I am no prude myself… I’m not even really conservative, but I do know what to keep buried deep within my personal life and what is acceptable to post for the world to see. All I ask and advise is that people pay attention to the fine line that exists between their personal and professional lives, and take the proper precautions to keep the two separate. A little mixing is sometimes all right, depending on the situation and circumstances. Just know your limits, know your work place, and know why the words “personal” and “professional” aren’t synonyms.