Just my two cents

Musings on social media and the world as I see it


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Why I don’t work on Sundays

candleThis is a rant. I don’t do these often. For a long time, though, I’ve had some thoughts I couldn’t quite put into words. It’s more of a feeling that just couldn’t be quite defined. Until now.

But this week I came across a post that just got me thinking. And it made me mad too, and I realized that what I had been thinking about was this: people are expected to do way too much these days, and something’s gotta give.

Here’s the post: “Why productive people work on Sundays.” The title alone annoyed me. It implies that people who don’t work on Sundays are not productive. Wrong. Everyone has their own way of working and everyone has their own workload to manage. It doesn’t mean that you have to work on Sundays to be a productive, worthwhile member of society or a valued employee of a company. I consider myself to be a very productive person and pride myself on how much of a workload I manage on a regular basis. I do what it takes to get the job done, and I know I’m not alone in that. And I’m willing to bet that all those other productive people are not working every Sunday.

The other thing that bothered me about the post is the fact that this writer is suggesting that we take time out of what is conventionally known to all as the “day of rest.” For me and Mr. J, Sunday is our day to enjoy the morning and relax and then go out for a leisurely lunch and cocktail. It’s the one day we indulge ourselves in some R&R time. That’s our time together. I would imagine that for those with children, that day is ever more precious, and needed more too!

Now granted, there are some professions and jobs that just simply have to work on Sundays… nurses, doctors, waiters and waitresses, the retail industry, and the list goes on. But those people have other days off.

The other thing that post made me realize is that there are some factors at play that make up the reality of today. Thanks to the horrible economy, most companies have fewer people expected to do more with less money. So there’s a bigger workload for most people, who are already stretching themselves too thin. And how many hours of our lives are we expected to dedicate to a job rather than our lives? When did it become the norm to live to work rather than work to live?

Now, let’s add to these expectations the fact that if you’re not part of the social media world you’re probably not going to be a top candidate for any jobs in the field of marketing or public relations (or any number of fields for that matter), right? In this industry, if you’re not part of social media, you may as well call it quits and retire. So let’s add on the hours that you can spend (lose?) just keeping up with Facebook status updates, tweets, retweets, hashtags and lists in Twitter, Instagram pics, Pinterest pins, and so on. And don’t forget the time post to your own blog, and catch up on the reading of all your fave blogs and commenting on those posts. Hmmm.

Do you see where I’m going here… suddenly a 40-hour a week job becomes 60 just to get your work done and keep up with everything in the social sphere. I know there are many people who are just totally driven and are not happy unless they’re working all the time. But for the most part, those people are often self-employed. There are others of us who work for companies who are trying to do manage workloads that should be handled by more than one person, and who are also trying to keep up with being a part of the social world. They also try to maintain some sort of family life.

As my dad used to say, “You’re burning the candle at both ends.” I can’t think of a time in history when this is more true.  And this is the reality of today. I don’t think everyone can keep up this pace for too long. Eventually, it’s going to meet in the middle and there will be no wick left, and the candle is not a candle anymore. It’s given all it had to give. There’s nothing left to burn.

So how long do you think you can keep going at the pace you’re going? When is your candle going to meet in the middle? Do you feel it necessary to work on Sundays? Do you think it’s necessary to be productive? So many questions. I’d love to hear from you.


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Forget FOMO. I’ve got FOBF – fear of being forgotten

ambulance at night.This July, I took a two-week vacation from work. It was the first time I can remember that I took a hiatus that long from work. I promised myself and the Mr. that I was going to unplug. So with the exception of a few personal Facebook status updates and deleting unnecessary emails from my inboxes, I was mostly MIA from all things social & tech.

The day I returned, I wrote a post for my blog and I thought I would start doing more frequent posts, since I was feeling so rested and ready to get back to things. Then at 10:00 that night my mom called to tell me she had just called the rescue for my dad. My parents are in their mid-80s, and so that phone call in the middle of the night is something I always dread.

That night was spent in the emergency department, and my dad was finally admitted at 5:15 a.m. I drove my mom home as the sun was rising. I had to start working in just a couple hours, and I was just heading home. As I was driving, I thought to myself that I couldn’t remember the last time I was coming home at sun rise. Leaving for the gym at that time is much more my speed now that I’m a 40-something and not a 20-something.

Of course, with that night in the ED, the vacation and the relaxation that came with it quickly became a distant memory. For the next two weeks I would pick my mom up and drive her to the hospital, where I worked on my laptop from my dad’s hospital room.

During that time, I did everything I had to for work, but I feel like I was barely a presence on Twitter or Facebook or Google+ (which wasn’t often for me on a good week!). As for my blog, well, it hasn’t seen a post since this all started, until this one. While I’m thrilled to report that my dad is now home and on the second part of his recovery, I’m feeling completely forgotten in social media.

There were a few wonderful people (and they know who they are) who often asked how dad was doing and expressed genuine care and concern. I’m especially grateful for those amazing people both in Twitter and in the real world. It’s astounding how quickly you find out who your real friends are when you’re in a crisis. (And there’s a lesson in here for brands too… the same is true of those loyal followers you’ve built through your social media efforts. They will come to your aid in a crisis!)

It’s taken me all these paragraphs to get to my point: I get nervous about not being more visible, not being a regular contributor or a regular blogger. I feel badly about not keeping in touch with people on Twitter or reading their blogs with any set frequency. And I feel like I’ve let people down by not sharing the great info they’re putting out there. I’m not suffering from FOMO, I’m suffering from what I’m coining the “Fear Of Being Forgotten,” or FOBF.

But in the long run, is it just our own minds that tells us we should feel badly about taking this hiatus from the social world? Does anyone really care if we’re not visible or not blogging or commenting for a while? More importantly, does anyone really notice? I’m sure the people who we are in touch with regularly would notice, but in the big scheme of things, does it really matter?

Personally, I’m hoping it doesn’t matter, because this FOBF can really weigh on you! Have you ever felt this way?


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The return of baseball season

Phoebe Red SoxBaseball season started on April Fools Day this year, and for this diehard Red Sox fan, it was a day that didn’t disappoint. My beloved Red Sox beat our rival Yankees in the season opener. While it’s been a week of ups and downs on the field, the real season doesn’t start for me until the Sox take to that magical field at home, in historic Fenway Park.

So I’ll be taking the afternoon “off” on Monday to root, root, root for the home team and maybe even indugle in a hot dog. With temperatures in the 60s in New England, it will be perfect weather to cheer on the Sox and look forward to the next 150+ games.

And during the home opener, I cannot tear myself away to monitor the social media I manage on a regular basis. As we know, social media never sleeps. So tomorrow will be a strange day, where I’ll take the afternoon off to enjoy watching all the opening day festivities at Fenway and then reconnect with the virtual community tomorrow evening.

Perhaps that’s the real beauty of social media — it doesn’t matter what time you sign on, because someone is always there. So how does baseball relate to social media?  (Yes, this is a stretch, but I have to celebrate the return of my boys of summer.)

Keep your eye on the ball. One of the first things a coach will teach you is never take your eye off the ball. In social media, that’s your strategy. Don’t forget what you’re trying to do in the social world. It should be your coach for every swing you’re taking.

You CAN hit it out of the park. You usually won’t get a home run with your first post on a social network, but that shouldn’t stop you from swinging. Don’t miss batting practice — take time to meet people and listen in social media. They’re telling you a lot.

You could be on the all-star team. There will always be people out there who are considered the go-to people, the experts, the all-stars of social media. But that team changes daily. Who says it can’t be YOU on this year’s all-star team?

So here’s to a great baseball season, and here’s to a winning social media season for you!


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Unplugging… the follow up.

Someecards always know just what to say.

If you read my previous post, you know I thoroughly enjoyed my state of being semi-unplugged for five glorious days. Cosmos and lunches and just a few emails and limited social media. I said I was enjoying life.

Then the end came. The shoe dropped. The clock struck. Time to work. So on Thursday, I did just that. After a good workout in the morning, I dove right in, refreshed, awake and ready to rumble. And then I saw the list of unread emails. The six tweet streams flowing. The Facebook pages, and the repins and the to-do list. And then it hit me. THIS is real life! Vacation is NOT real life. Unless you are retired, independently wealthy or live off a trust fund (and where can I get one of those!?!) work IS your life. There’s no two ways around it.

We all know that since the economy flopped a few years ago, those of us who still have jobs are thanking our lucky stars that we do. Along with that is the knowledge that many of us carry workloads that in days past, those financially wonderful days of yesteryear, more people would be doing the work that is now left for one person to manage.

These are the days we live in. This is our reality. Our weekends and our vacations are just that… time to catch up, take a breath and get ready for real life… and that’s what work is all about.

So if unplugging while you’re on vacation or on your weekends is going to help you rest, then do it. Enjoy that break. We all need it every so often… and now, back to real life.

Do you unplug? How often? Do you find it hard to keep yourself away from the technology even on your down time? Would love to hear what others are doing!