Friday, September 26, 2008

Why I won't give out my full name

This is in response of Bob's excellent comment on my "5 things to do to get your career started": I give all this advice on how to network, and then I hide my identity. Bob, this is for you.
Why I don't reveal my full identity in my posts? because I'm me.

  • Self-defense only works on people you see coming
    Being a woman teaches you that: the world isn't that safe. If I give my full name, you're just a few clicks from knowing what I like, where I go, who I know. In short, you can easily stalk me. As much as I like getting my opinion out there, I don't want my safety to be at risk. I do therefore also advise other women to use a pen name.

  • I don't have that many wrinkles
    If you're a young woman trying to build a career, this will instantly speak to you. For the rest, try to understand. I have not yet, in over 5 years working, been able to say "I just think that". Every single argument I give has had to be supported by numbers from official publications I can link to; "reputable" sources. This has made me a much more methodical, analytical, much more driven individual, so I'm grateful for the challenge. However, I'm not grateful for the frustration: even after presenting my case as the fruit of days of research, I'll be over ruled by another guy just saying "Nah.". That's it. The screen of anonymity really plays in favor of people who usually don't get heard. My opinion is here, bare, out to be tested, to be judged. No make up.

  • Work politics make it hard for me... to be me
    I'm striving to find a company that will embrace my liberal feminist views, but right now, it's not the case. So I can't afford to have 8 months of hard work come down to flames because some Product Manager in charge of the software in Taiwan finds this blog and uses it to say I'm crazy. This shouldn't be news to anyone: there are political games being played in any size company. The advantage of being in a small company is that you have the potential to make a real difference - but the drawback is that when political games are played, there's no anonymity, and political damage lasts a very long time.

  • I'm not anonymous. I'm me!
    Yes you don't know my full name, but people who read my resume do. And I can definitely include the blog address, the twitter name, the LinkedIn to anyone who I trust as safe, put it on a separate business card, email it to my friends, tell people I meet a networking events, etc. I'm in control of closing the loop!

Questions? Comments? Email me at carolineblogs at gmail dot com

1 comment:

Bob Rodkin said...

That's quite the reply Caroline. Thank you.

I had a feeling your reasoning was one of security. That makes sense to me. Being the father of four daughters, I live that through them. Perhaps instead of them, as I wish they would be more conscious of just how instantly they can become connected these days.

Still, when you look at the issue of male vs female amongst the corporate elite, the numbers don't lie. I think this lack of "openess", albeit for a very good (even vital) reason may be at least one significant factor. It's a sad one. But it's a real one.

In the end, it's not a very flattering commentary on the direction of our society is it? You'd think, this issue should have died a few decades back.

I have read all your posts. Visited your Flckr page. You have so much to offer. It is not fair that you should have to hold back at all. But that is what it is - and I agree it is necessary.

In the end. You are still reaching people. You reached me. I have no doubt you will succeed in achieving your full potential.

I wish you every success. It has been my pleasure to connect with you.