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Connect! to me

Applying Connect! to my class experience and my career

“Blend your work and your personal life = the future of Web work? articulated some of the experiences I’ve had in this class and gave me excellent advice for the next phase of my life.

Zelenka advocates replacing the traditional concept of “work-life balance? with her term, “work-life blend (pg. 258).? She argues that Web work allows people to blend and weave work and personal life activities throughout the course of a day. Work-life balance makes sense for traditional work but it implies keeping work and personal life separate—framing spheres of activity as competing with each other for your time.

Participating in this class required that I begin blending work and personal activities in order to complete assignments, communicate on Twitter and Facebook throughout the day, and collaborate with other students. It took me awhile to get used to that because I contend with disruptions all day in my current job. Adding more was overwhelming at first. As Zelenka says however, I eventually became accustomed to networking and working with greater ease. I also learned that intermingling the personal and work is not only easier online but is a healthy thing to do (pg. 259). I don’t feel guilty about taking a quick web surf several times during the work day.

Secondly, Zelenka stresses that one down side of Web work is that it can be isolating (pg. 263). This definitely became the case with this class for me. Once we started working on the wiki, I spent more and more hours alone in front of a computer. I didn’t put any boundaries between my classwork and my social life. My friendships and family relationships are suffering as a result.

Zelenka gave me some very good advice for my future life and career. First, I have a new way to frame the normal ebb and flow of life. I recognize that for the last 2 year, I’ve been in a “neutral zone (pg. 265).? I am not happy in this place. But Zelenka made it easier to accept as just an ebb period. From now on, I will remember her belief that the slow times are just as important as the busy ones. Moreover, I will plan for periods of time that cross months or even years to factor in the reality of the tidal pattern of life work.

I didn’t need Zelenka to remind of the importance of close social relationships (pg. 268). But I did need her to tell me how the Internet can rebuild my skeletal social life and the importance of emphasizing the social versus professional benefit of networking (pg. 269). Just this week, I had one of the most rewarding exchanges with someone I’ve had in a long, long time. Granted, the impetus for the connection was this class but the interaction was completely engaging. In fact, the both me and the other person forewent sleep to discuss compelling ideas.

Both my neighbor and Zelenka convinced me of the importance of mindfulness. I’m experiencing many the problems she lists: burnout, frustration alternating with malaise (pg. 277). Ironically, I’ll have to delay dealing with those issues until I finish this class!

Finally, one of the most important things I’ve gotten from Connect! is a sense of a vast new array of professional opportunities. She’s opened my eyes to possibilities I didn’t even know existed. Now I’m more drawn to Web-related work than ever. If nothing else, I want to utilize the Web in pursuit of social activities, hobbies and ongoing learning. I’m already on my way: I’m enrolled in a Web design class this summer.

Sara

Comments

Hello Sara, thanks for sharing with us your thoughts pertaining to both class and work and moreover life. You were definitely one that was thorough which is definitely good for us to get the whole picture. Looking at your other blog entry of your list of what worked and what didn't -- totally thorough as it was totally understood what worked for you and what didn't. In this blog post of yours, you had mentioned mindfulness as being important and how you'll "have to delay dealing with those issues until I finish this class!" You know what you need to do, and I have complete confidence in you! All the best to you!