You have one life. Whether you believe in rebirth, reincarnation, or just darkness after death, you still have just one life to lead. You do not get a life for work, a life for family, and a separate one for everything else. This has always been true, but increasingly it is becoming more evident, and people are starting to wake up to the fact that it is this oneness that can help bring happiness or despair.
There is a saying that you can only be content when what you say, what you do, and what you believe are all the same. Mind, body, and spirit in agreement. When you try to say one thing but do another, you introduce stress and discontentment into your life. For proof, just look at Elliot Spitzer, Ted Haggard or John Edwards. Not only did these men all have great public trials to face when the news of their actions came out, even greater was the inner turmoil they faced.
Other examples can be seen in companies that talk about fiscal responsibility but still cling to wasteful ways of private jets and corporate perks. Or groups that preach green behavior but still waste paper, food, or gasoline. Or the individual who goes to church and prays for the poor on Sunday and then walks silently past the Salvation Army bucket on Monday. And how many people are there who say we should help the immigrants but still won’t hire them or who recoil from them in social situations.
All of these actions create turmoil within us and cause us to be less than content. And in no greater place is this evident than the Internet. As social media becomes more and more pervasive, our different roles in life become increasingly visible without borders. When I go to hire a new employee and Google her name, I do not separate that this Facebook profile is personal while this LinkedIn profile is professional. Which one should I use to evaluate this future employee? I am going to use both. And when I look up a new acquaintance on MySpace and see what he is talking about there and then follow him on Twitter and see what he is saying or doing, I do not separate these things into different areas of my mind. No, it all goes in there together.
I find it interesting that some prospective employees still find it hard to believe I would use Google or other methods to look them up on the web before doing an interview. Wouldn’t you investigate a prospective employer before going to an interview? If no, you should. Shouldn’t you know if the company you are looking at has any good or bad press? What about civic awards or criminal prosecutions? Or maybe since those things happened in a different area of the company then they don’t apply to you. Nope, didn’t think so.
See what I am saying? The Internet makes what few walls there are between parts of are lives increasingly transparent. I have always prided myself, for better or worse, on being one person. The Michael you see at works is the same one you will see at the soccer games and the same one you will see at home or church. There is nothing on my work related sites that my friends shouldn’t see and nothing on my personal sites that I wouldn’t want an employer or colleague to know. And I will tell you what, living that way makes life a lot less stressful.