blogging will not ruin your career
A few years ago, a friendly senior scholar sat me down and warned me: “Fabio, you really have to stop this blogging thing. It’s not good for you.” This was a pretty serious conversation. He meant it as kind advice from a more seasoned friend and colleague. I smiled, mumbled, and said, “Um, ok, thank you.” Then, I proceeded to blog as usual.
I figured that blogging wasn’t bad as long as (a) you did not let it displace your actual job and (b) your blog posts were professionally written and not shrill in tone. I only seriously blogged once my book on Black Studies was published and had a solid list of articles under my belt. Also, I made sure that the bulk of my blogging was about sociology, org studies, and professional issues (e.g., the Grad Skool Rulz). I have never regretted my choice to continue writing in this format. People still like reading it and I get lots of positive feedback.
As I look down the orgtheory crew list, I see that I’m not alone. Other orgtheory crew members are doing quite well despite their association with this blog. Omar, most famously, is now an editor of ASR, our flagship journal. Brayden is doing well at the leading b-school in the US. Kieran not only blogs here on occasion, but also his personal blog and at Crooked Timber. He’s doing quite well at Duke and his data visualizations are often picked up my major news media. Katherine has written an award winning book and Elizabeth is graduate chair at Albany. Sean directs the MA program at Sciences Po in France and Teppo has just become chair of his department at Oxford.
This is obviously a selection effect. I think it’s silly to think that these folks weren’t already top notch when they participated in this blog. It speaks well, though, of Teppo and Brayden, who founded this blog and reached out to so many people who have excelled in the profession.
The lesson I have for early career readers is this: When there is something new, something that doesn’t fit the mold, you shouldn’t run away from it. Don’t be scared to reach out and develop your voice. Surround yourself with good people. As long as you write from a position of integrity and respect for the reader, it will be ok.