The Conflict Between Blogging/Social Media and My Real Life

by Elena on October 31, 2011 in blogging about blogging

A full time teacher.

A career that I have had for twelve years. A career that has given me great pride, a sense of accomplishment, and many accolades. A career that has been more than just a job.  My passion, My area of expertise. The thing that I never had doubts about.

Until recently.

I love my job.

I do.  I love the expression on the faces of students when the light bulb goes off, or when they finally feel the success that they have been working towards for so long. I love presenting an instructional strategy to teachers and presenting information to groups of parents. I like being seen as an expert. As someone who knows what they are talking about.

But lately? Lately I have started wondering. Thinking. Could I have another passion?  Another something that gives me fulfillment?

Going through college I always thought that I wanted to be in public relations. In a way, teaching is a bit like PR.  You have clients (parents & students), you have goals (student achievement) and you have indicators of success.  But now I find myself wondering, could I use my expertise in education to do something else? Could I use my love of social media and writing to leave the classroom?

Rocket has challenged me to provide him a plan….a feasibility study.  I need to prove to him that I could really make a go of this.

But I am discovering that leaving one career for another is a bit like going to get an MBA.  You cannot get into an MBA program without real world experience. And yet, you cannot get the real world experience without having the MBA.

I am feeling the same way about my current career and the potential career that I have been dreaming of.  I cannot spread my wings and try new things because I am working full time as an educator. And yet, to make a go of this dream, I need to get the ball rolling.

A few weeks ago, the interference of my real life came head to head with my dream.

S350 Blue Tech | C.MomCase in point: I was invited to an event.  An event that sounded fabulous with a brand that I highly admire: Mercedes Benz.  I do not own a Mercedes-Benz (nor did I think they were going to be giving any away!), but when I think of elegance and cars…I think Mercedes-Benz.  They were in Washington DC unveiling  the first diesel-powered S-Class in the U.S. market since the 1995 model year, the S350 BlueTEC.  Not only would we learn about the car, but there would be test driving. This appealed to me on so many levels. Although not a car buff, I like nice cars. I appreciate them for their comfort, their aesthetics, and the quality of the product.  Also? Here was a chance to make new connections, explore avenues and broaden my social media horizons beyond the role of a mom who blogs.

There was only one glitch. The event took place during the work week, in the middle of the day.  When I was teaching.

In the past, the response has been automatic. “Thank you for including me in this opportunity. I am not able to attend as I teach full time.  I would love to keep in touch and learn more about _____ at another future date.”

This time…I thought about it. A lot. For several days.

Personal days are there for a reason, and I suppose I could have taken the afternoon off to attend. But in my absence, I would be leaving classes and teachers in the lurch from my not being there.  How could I justify such an outing? It is one thing when Principessa is sick and I have to be out at the last minute. But going to a lunch and learning about a fabulous new car?

So I did the only thing I could do. I said no thank you.

I  knew that I just could not justify it. But the little voice in the back of my brain…it lingered. The voice keeps interrupting me in the middle of my school day, interfering with my reality just enough to keep the dream going. It keeps asking me, ” how are you going to make this work when your real life keeps interfering with exploring your dream?”

It is not really about the Mercedes-Benz. It is about the fact that I feel like I am living a double life.  Trying to do so much in two very different worlds. Trying to do my best. Multitasking whenever I get the chance. The truth is I am probably going to have to make some hard choices. Do some hard thinking about what I want.

Would I really be happy outside of the school setting? Would I still love blogging and social media if it became my job and not just the thing that I love? Am I ready to give up on something that even the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards thinks I am good at?

xo

Elena

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

jodifur October 31, 2011 at 9:46 pm

I am in the exact same place, except I know I want to leave my legal career, I just don’t know how to do it.

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angela October 31, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Oh Elena, These are tough choices and tough possibilities. I don’t have answers, but you always have my support.

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Missy | The Literal Mom October 31, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Tough choices, my friend. I have a feeling you’re a GREAT teacher. I’d love my girls to have you.

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Merry120 October 31, 2011 at 11:13 pm

I feel your pain. I too feel like I lead a double life. Full time working mom & a blogger/social media addict on the side. :) I am currently trying to move more into that realm at my job so I’m trying to mesh the too (at least a little).

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Mama Track October 31, 2011 at 11:17 pm

I totally empathize with you. Obviously, right? These decisions are so hard. Good luck with whatever path you choose–they both sound great.

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Kimberly November 1, 2011 at 1:20 am

This sounds like me. I am a former teacher and I had doubts about what I was doing and where I wanted to go with my life. It is a hard decision, but no matter what you choose, we’ll be behind you.

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Galit Breen November 1, 2011 at 7:14 am

I love the question that you pose here- so very many of us can relate!

Like you would ask us (I know that you would), what does your gut say?

And as for giving up what you’re so very good at? You’re also so very good at this other, dear friend!

xo

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tracy@sellabitmum November 1, 2011 at 7:39 am

So tough. Hugs my friend. I have to say that by meeting you – you must be an amazing teacher. xoxo

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Elena November 1, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Thank you so very much for saying that!! I do love it….

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molly November 1, 2011 at 11:26 am

I work full time too. I go through the same thoughts and conundrums as you because of this. I love blogging. I love social media. More and more people are making careers out of this industry.

But it is a catch 22. I can’t pour your heart and time into it because 9 hours out of the day I am doing something else for someone else.

That being said, if I am given enough notice for a great opportunity for my blog I am able to take off work. I have done that a few times already this year. Paid leave time is the only thing that keeps my sanity!

I wish you the best in trying to figure out what your future holds. Sometimes if we just wait it out the answer will fall in our laps.

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Elena November 1, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Absolutely. That catch 22 is what I have been thinking about.

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Alexandra November 1, 2011 at 11:42 am

I could just cry, this is so much my life right now.

xo

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Ki November 1, 2011 at 1:21 pm

This is EXACTLY how I feel these days, like I don’t have enough hours. In fact when people here at work say things like “I Wish this day would just move faster!” I find myself praying the clock would stop or I had one of those time turner things like Hermione in Harry Potter…I need more time, I need more choices, I need……….exactly this.

You wrote it just like I feel it. xoxo I hope we get our answers soon.

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Elena November 1, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Ooh yes, a time turner!! Either that or a magic ball :))

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Deidra November 1, 2011 at 1:23 pm

I completely get this. I just got back from Relevant11, an amazing blogging conference. It solidified this desire in me to leave my 9-5 and do something different. Last month, I hired a consultant to help me figure out how to take the next step, and then the one after that. I’m meeting with her tonight, and will mention this post to her, and tell her that I could have written the very same thing. Except, of course, for the offer to drive that Mercedes-Benz.

I hope you find your next step, Elena. I do.

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Elena November 1, 2011 at 2:49 pm

It is hard to know…and scary too, to take that next step! What a wise thing talking to someone else about it!

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Heather November 1, 2011 at 1:58 pm

this is so tricky. I totally get it. I didn’t work full-time when I started blogging, I had just quit. But I still struggle with finding time to attain all the things I dream up in these online spaces.

In the four years of doing this, I’m learning that good things continue to come your way even if you don’t have a lot of time and energy to pour into it the way you’d like. The Internet is SO big (obviously) with so many varied opportunities. It’s hard to pick and choose which ones you can allow into your real life but I think you’ll figure it out as you go, one chance at a time while you follow that wise heart-gut of yours.

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Elena November 1, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Thank you for that. And you are so right, there are so many opportunities for people of all types & levels out there.

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Elaine November 1, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Oooh, this is a tough one. My gut says stick with that you know and are so very good at already. But it’s not your gut. ;)

And next time, take the personal day, k? Hugs!

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Thien-Kim November 1, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Elena, I have been where you are and am currently at a similar crossroads. Just remember this: nothing happens overnight. Think baby steps. The only reason I left my job post-Sophia was because I was basically forced out. However, I’d been working on building my Passion Parties business for years while working my job so it was not as difficult to transition. If want to bounce any ideas, I’m here!

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cat November 1, 2011 at 8:19 pm

I sort of did this, and it’s crazy hard. In my case it was baby steps, leaving the “big” job, doing consulting, and then building this thing I really love. Worth it, but hard.

It’s challenging to be really good at two different things, and not be ‘that kind’ of multitasker. I’ve always needed to be married to my task, and I almost always have something else in the wings (a novel to write, a company to start, a jewelry line to create) as soon as I’m done with whatever I’m doing.

One word: Lottery

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Elena November 1, 2011 at 8:49 pm

I love the image of being married to your task. And that is exactly it–I cannot doing things halfway nor can I do something without feeling like I have given it my all. The good news is that I have time…and luckily the latitude to try to be strategic. First agenda item, submitting those presenter proposals!

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Hopes@Staying Afloat! November 2, 2011 at 1:05 am

Oh this has got to be so very hard. All I can say is be true to yourself, you will succeed and find happiness in whatever you choose that way!

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Courtney @ The Mommy Matters November 3, 2011 at 5:55 pm

I honestly don’t know how you do it. I stay-at-home and work from home, but still can’t always find the time to keep up with Social Media and Blogging/Writing the way that I want to. I hope you find some balance soon!

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Leticia November 7, 2011 at 10:19 pm

I know you’re at a crossroads- a very similar place to where I was not that long ago. It’s hard to turn your back on something you’re very good at for a leap of faith for another passion- one that doesn’t necessarily bring a steady income or job security! The social media world is always full of opportunities and I know that if and when the time comes for you to leave teaching in favor of another passion, that you will be quite successful! Always here for you when you need a friend to chat with! :)

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career consulting Atlanta March 12, 2012 at 11:59 pm

Many people are facing the same dilemma that you are in right now. Hopefully, things will be better soon. The social media is a venue for a lot of opportunities and surely when the time comes that you decide to leave one career for another, everything will fall into place. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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