An Ode to a Blog

I have a coworker who has a view that I don’t particularly agree with. She has decades of experience and she said to me that it was foolish for me to have a blog — that having one is career limiting and that there’s really no point to it. And I think that that’s sorta backwards.

First of all, I think there is a misconception that comes from not asking what a blog is, exactly. It’s very nuanced and subtle, and it’s hard to explain to people sometimes. The best way to think about it, I think, is that a blog is the artistic web incarnation of someone’s thoughts, ideas and opinions. Blogging is an art form not that different from painting, music, poetry, or dance — when you view it the right way. Just as some people paint, or play music, or write poetry, or dance, some people have blogs. There surely is a point to all these things. And just as no employer will ever wander to a public spoken word event to hear an employee read poetry, no employer will ever see your blog unless you want them to (contrary to what you might think, you can’t google everything).

Now at the same time, keeping a blog can actually do a lot to help you navigate your career path. You might notice after some time that you have written considerably about a specific field or industry, which would help you realize that you have a strong passion for it. Obviously, knowing what really interests you is very important when thinking about your career, and blogging can help you realize what does and does not. I myself had so much to write on economics and innovation that I had to create another blog focused on those topics, separate from this more personal/general one. And a blog can demonstrate your knowledge, expertise and interest in a field to a future employer, which you could not demonstrate otherwise. This could mean the difference between a fulfilling career in a field that you love or a career where you’re just passing time until retirement. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that — there’s a whole, bigger life outside of working.) What better way is there for an outsider to enter a new industry than to start a blog, save for going back to school and getting a degree?

You see, a blog adds to the process of building an enriching career — I just don’t think it subtracts.

I have my blog and my blog is my art. I do it because I like it — it brings me pleasure — it enriches my life. Artists mostly make their art for themselves, and they sometimes share that art with others so that they might get pleasure from it too. Not everything a blogger writes ends up on their blog — a blog is public for a reason. But the biggest mistake you can make is to think that artists make their art for you — you will be utterly confused if you start with that presumption.