Personal or professional?

Where does one draw the line between personal interests and professional interests?

The line between personal and professional gets blurry, particularly if you have a home office and if you live what Bill Gates used to call "the web lifestyle." My email inbox contains project updates, appeals for help, ads for credit counseling and penis enlargement, invitations to speak at conferences, and a note from Mom. I take photos of new products and of my dogs.

Perhaps a better question is "Where should one draw the line between personal and professional?" My time used to be something like this:

I didn't confuse hobbies and vacation with managing a software start-up or selling training programs to large banks.

Yesterday I finished assembling a website for capturing and sharing the history and romance of Berkeley's paths for the Berkeley Path Wanderers Association. A hobby, right? Until I used the same skillset to put together a blog for the Workflow Institute.

If I kept a timecard (perish the thought), I'd have to give most of my waking minutes multiple codes:

It's Saturday morning and I'm preparing a presentation for Tuesday's meeting of the eLearning Forum. That's personal and professional.

I don't have an answer yet. I'll toss it to my subconscious neurons to work on. My high degree of personal and professional activites works for me. I get to do what I like in either realm. This feels right, so long as one sphere doesn't limit the scope of the other:

Do others think this way? Is there a problem?

Posted by Jay Cross at January 24, 2004 11:42 AM | TrackBack

I do think in the similar way, but it's not a mainstream thinking... There are many people who work from 9 to 18 and get unhappy when a work-related topic pops-up during beer-drinking. May be I'm just to sensitive to this unspoken social pressure to distingish between personal and professional, but for me it's still requires a bit of energy to feel that interconnecting personal and professional is a good thing to do (at least for me) and not an abnormal practice.

Anyway, I believe that it's our passions that make us productive professionally and passions are deeply personal :)

Posted by: Lilia at January 24, 2004 07:05 PM

Related discussion on personal vs. professional, weblogs and passion - (the beginning of conversation is in German, but automatic translation works good enough)

Posted by: Lilia at January 24, 2004 07:08 PM

Hi Jay,
I totally agree with you and I'm so happy it's so! I work partially from home and see myself as lucky that I love my work and my hobbies so much, that I practice both of them all the time.
Of course most of the people work regular hours and this will always be so.
We're some kinds of pioneers in the future cyberspace world(so presumptious of me...).

Posted by: Meir Navon at January 24, 2004 09:56 PM

30 Poppy Lane
Berkeley, California 94708

1.510.528.3105 (office & cell)

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