Yesterday morning I had a couple kid-free hours allowing me to do some writing. I really wanted to get a blog post done, but everything I wrote turned into a political rant full of foul language. You see, I’m from Wisconsin, and the results of Tuesday’s recall election had me all bothered and pissed off.
Besides hailing from cheese country, I also come from a family of teachers (my mom, dad and sister are all public school teachers … I’m the only non-teacher in the family, actually), and was just appalled at the way Scott Walker attacked unions — and teachers specifically — as soon as he took office. So it was incredibly disappointing to see him survive the recall yesterday. Aaargh!
So all day I got sidetracked into writing a bunch of political diatribes, which I’ll spare you. This is a business blog after all, right? But it got me to thinking once again about how much is too much when it comes to sharing my personal and political opinions on this blog or other channels where I write or speak.
Yes, this is a business blog, but it’s also my business blog. Which means that besides the business info I’ll share here, you may expect some of the following:
I won’t hide my political leanings. I’m not going to be the kind of business writer (or coach) that never talks politics. I care about politics and policies and how they affect people and communities. If anything I wish I had more time to pay closer attention to what’s going on politically in my own city and state. (I’ll add “More political activism” to the long list of “Things to do when both my kids are in school.”)
Note, I have no intention of talking politics all the time, or even often, on this blog. But most business consultants, coaches, and other self-employed people who blog or write publicly steer way clear of politics and other potentially controversial topics. Undoubtedly this is a good way to avoid alienating potential clients/customers/book buyers.
My feeling is that if I talk about issues that I truly care about, and my opinions turn off some readers, I’m OK with that. Of course if I start losing readers in droves, then I’m failing in my ultimate goal to reach and engage my audience. So there is a balance to strike, and I will continue to feel my way along.
I’ll swear sometimes. I swear a lot in real life. And I have gotten in trouble for it.
Here’s a story: In 2001 after getting fired from my last-ever job, that night I went out for drinks with Turtle and Gwyneth Doland, the food editor (at the time) of the magazine I was fired from. At La Crepe Michel in Old Town, we were drinking wine and working our way through a delightful paté and cheese plate when a woman at the neighboring table turned around and yelled at me about my foul mouth, wagging her finger over our table and threatening to “come over and shut it for me.”
We all sat there stunned, as her outburst came out of nowhere; she hadn’t been throwing us looks or “ahems” or anything up until that.
After a few seconds to reflect I responded with, “Fuck you,” at which point she launched herself over the table, grabbed my face, and dug her nails in. It was a surreal moment; the whole (tiny) French bistro fell silent as the lady sat back down with her husband and young daughter (yes, she did this in front of her daughter). I gathered my things and said it was time to leave. I considered pursuing charges but decided it was too much of a hassle.
I had to wear a bandage on my face for a while to protect the wound from the New Mexico sun. The scars faded but the memory hasn’t. It was a pretty weird time.
Anyhoo, I haven’t stopped swearing but I am a little more careful with my volume and tone now. So next time you read “fuck” or “shit” on this blog, please know I am saying it politely.