52% intelligent. 9% modest. More monkey than bear.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

every smile you fake...

I acquired a new reader over the weekend.

How do I know? Not because I obsessively check my stats (I am so over that), but because she mentioned it to me at work today. She's likely to be reading this, I suppose, so I'd better give her a name, otherwise it's a bit rude isn't it? Let's call her Rufus-Fan.

It's my own fault really. Rufus-Fan and I were chewing the cud on Friday afternoon, and when she asked me what I was up to at the weekend. I said that I was doing a 50km walk, and when she then asked why, it just seemed easier to show her the Ultimate Olympian's blog, as that would explain everything. Being a curious sort, and because it's a ridiculous challenge and a very well-written blog, she read a fair bit of it. Somewhere in there I'm mentioned by name and there's a link here. A curious Rufus-Fan clicked the link, and found this blog, and then read on with interest.

There is something mildly disconcerting about discovering that a colleague from work is reading this. I think it's got something to do with the protection of my anonymity.

Believe it or not, SwissToni isn't actually my real name.

Honestly.

That's pretty much the entire extent of the figleaf protecting my identity on this blog though. My real name is fairly readily available if you wanted to find it, you know I live in Nottingham, and as if that wasn't enough, I quite often post pictures of myself (sans moustache). Alright, I don't talk much about my job, but that's mainly because it would probably be as boring for you to read about as it would be for me to write about it. I also don't think I've ever mentioned the name of the company I work for, although it wouldn't be terribly hard to guess it. If you asked me what it was, I'd probably tell you anyway.

Nah. It's not my anonymity on the internet that I'm worried about protecting; I want to protect some of my real identity from work.

I'm sure to some extent we all do it, no matter how much we may try not to. We all have a work persona that is different from the way we are when we are amongst our friends. My dad is certainly like this: I have always struggled to reconcile the grumpy and impatient man that I know (especially when I'm ill), with the caring and expert doctor that the majority of his patients clearly see.

Whilst I try to be myself at work as much as I can, I just can't be entirely me, and actually I think I quite like it that way. I don't live to work, and although I get on really well with a lot of people in the office, I can count the number of real friends that I have at work, friends who I would happily spend some time with voluntarily outside of work, on the fingers of one hand. If I meet colleagues from work out of the context of the office, say at the supermarket, I am almost always entirely stumped for words. Part of it is my natural shyness, but some of it is because I just don't have anything to say to them away from work. I don't really know what my colleagues think of me, but I'm pretty sure that they don't really know me all that well, and that's fine. I like keeping something back.

I am pretty honest on this blog, I think. Whilst I don't talk about everything that's happening in my life here, I do talk about a lot of things. You know a lot about my politics. You know about my schooling. You know what kind of music I like. You know what kind of books I read. I've been telling total strangers things about my life that I've never told anybody in the whole world about before. C. sometimes says that she has to read this blog to really know what's on my mind; to know what I've been thinking about.

So how do I feel about some of my colleagues at work having access to these insights? Will it begin to constrain some of the things that I talk about?

Nah. I don't think so.

What you read here is basically what I'm like. These are the things that I really think about, the things that I really care about. Anyone who is interested enough to read these ramblings, is welcome to them, and that certainly includes Rufus-Fan (who, incidentally, has an excellent taste in music, and is thinking of starting her own blog.... I think she definitely should. I'd read it.)

Now, it might be a bit weird if absolutely everyone I worked with read this, but I don't think I'll ever have that many readers, and I'm not all that sure that everyone I work with has the requisite concentration span to plough through my overly verbose ramblings.

I'm constantly amazed that anyone does.

24 Comments:

  • At 11:08 pm, Blogger Tom said…

    There is one reason and one reason alone that people should read your blog. All creeping aside, it is because it is a good read.

    It is.

     
  • At 11:21 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What have I done?

    I could quite happily have kept the fact that I now know an awful lot more about 'ST' than I did on Friday - to myself. At least until I'd had a chance to read a lot more of this blog than I did (I think you give my concentration span more credit than it deserves).
    But no.
    I go and open my big mouth.
    No pressure.
    I only mentioned that I'd been *thinking* about writing a blog for about a year. Mind you - there are so many comments to make about your latest blog entry that I may just have to get started in order to provide an appropriate response.

    ...and don't worry about your other colleagues - your secret is safe with me (especially if I ever get round to writing about my own world)

    (incidentally - I'm with Tom on this one)

    Rufus-fan

     
  • At 3:12 am, Blogger Di Gallagher said…

    Well, there you go ST. At least Rufus-fan is up front! Don'tcha hate the lurkers? Well, not hate em, but they kind of weird you out some times.
    I know EXACTLY what you mean about work and play. They are seperate worlds and it's best if you just keep it that way...

     
  • At 3:18 am, Blogger Michael said…

    I relate totally to your anonymity. Hence why I only have a picture of my eye. Also as to why I once donned a pen name.

    I still havent' gotton past obsessivly checking my stats. It is down to once a day though...

     
  • At 5:53 am, Blogger Aravis said…

    I know the feeling. A couple of friends and relatives have found my blog, which made me very uneasy at first when I posted. Like you, however, I decided not to let it bother me. It was a strange feeling at first though!

     
  • At 9:52 am, Blogger John McClure said…

    ooooops - sorry!

     
  • At 11:25 am, Blogger LB said…

    you get all your colleagues in a huge Big Brother house and have rows about whose turn it is to do the washing up and things would be very, very different.

    work is a different environment, for a start you automatically have one thing in common with everyone else there...

    and don't give me that "Swiss Toni isn't my real name" nonsense. You're not fooling anyone.

     
  • At 11:36 am, Blogger swisslet said…

    I've got something like 300,000 colleagues, so that would be a bloody big house....

     
  • At 11:37 am, Blogger John McClure said…

    *imagining ST leading LB off the forecourt with an arm round his shoulder - "You see, Bargain, picking a pen name is a lot like making love to a beautiful woman..."*

     
  • At 12:29 pm, Blogger Damo said…

    A few months ago, I stopped writing about my life in my blog - I won't elaborate on the specifics of why although it was nothing earth-shattering - and changed to just writing about music.

    I think you've just worked out my reasoning!

     
  • At 12:41 pm, Blogger John McClure said…

    Here's a question - do you have any friends that you wish wrote blogs about their lives and let you read them?

     
  • At 1:11 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey Swiss - I'm one of your other work colleagues and a regular reader. Your blog is really good and hopefully I assure you the blog work persona thing is balanced to perfection. The drones won't know the true extent of your personality. Trust me. I am the eye in the sky.

     
  • At 1:43 pm, Blogger swisslet said…

    john - yes. lots of them. I've known some people for more than 20 years and they're still an enigma to me.

    I think the increased open-ness, even in this kind of a format, is a really positive thing (although probably you should be asking those of my friends who read this blog what they think - especially as some of the things I write about have included them by default, like when I talked about my schooling)

    ST

     
  • At 4:26 pm, Blogger weenie said…

    My friends and family, if they stumbled upon my blog would work out very quickly it was me.

    Any colleagues reading it however would not know it was me, such is the "exciting double-life" I lead - normal office worker by day; err...nerdy blogger by night...

    Not sure that I would blog if I didn't have anonymity.

     
  • At 4:28 pm, Blogger John McClure said…

    It's a curious combination of desire - want lots of people to come to the blog, but don't want them to know it's me.

     
  • At 6:50 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hello "Swiss".

    I'm your boss. And you're sacked.

     
  • At 6:51 pm, Blogger Damo said…

    Just kidding.

    :-)

     
  • At 7:53 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think I would freak out a bit if one of my work collegues told me they were reading my blog. Some of my work colleagues know the "real me", but most don't. They know a toned down, tamed down, more conservative version of me that I keep tucked away and pull out just for work.

    The people that I'm close to would learn nothing about me from reading my blog. I'm pretty open about my life and I tend to tell everyone about my stuff. Well, actually, they might learn one or two small bits of gossip or read a rant they've not heard before, but that's about it. My basic personality is out there for all to see anyway.

    But those that don't know me well could quite possibly be shocked by some of the stuff I write about, or the people I write about. They'd probably still know it was me though - I'm not quite that secretive!

    - OLS

     
  • At 8:07 am, Blogger swisslet said…

    OLS - I think my friends would recognise me from reading this blog, but you'd have to ask them, really. As for whether my colleagues would recognise me based on what they read here (and photos aside).... dunno.... perhaps Rufus-fan could let us know?

    ST

     
  • At 8:07 am, Blogger swisslet said…

    oh, and Damo - tee hee!

     
  • At 8:35 am, Blogger Calia77 said…

    I think some of my friends would work out it was me from the things I write and the links I have. Plus my username kind of gives some of my work away.

    There's 2 people I really would die if they found my blog though! That's the fear! I'd have to admit to how I really feel about them. Eek!

     
  • At 12:58 pm, Blogger the urban fox said…

    Anonymity rocks.

     
  • At 6:12 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hmmm - tricky one to answer with hindsight, ST.

    However, given the clues you provide about your workplace, the description in your profile, and the fact that you're a Wolves fan (c'mon - we're hardly over-run with your type around here!)...I think I'd have to say that I would probably have narrowed it down reasonably quickly. This doesn't mean that a less inquisitive/nosey colleague would figure it out though.

     
  • At 12:02 am, Blogger Flash said…

    I would be horrofied if my blog became common knowledge at work.
    Me being one of those tell all types, I shudder at the prospect.
    Luckily, if you type flash into a search engine you get about 8 zillion results, so for now my anonymity remains intact.

     

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