Don’t Hold Back or Water Down Your Thoughts

This comic below is sheer awesomeness and worth showing to anyone who is fearful of how their online content might affect future career or political prospects, one of the most overblown concerns. Click to enlarge.


(hat tip xkcd via Colin Marshall)

11 comments on “Don’t Hold Back or Water Down Your Thoughts
  • I don’t really understand. In your life you’ve never changed your opinion?

    If you allow for changes of opinion then it’s almost certain that you’ll write things that will later be embarrassing. It’s simply good sense to mediate what you write to take this into account.

    Sure, you have to signal that you’re telling it like it is. It’s human nature that we only respect opinions when we feel like they’re deeply held. But I think this is misguided as general advice.

  • You might see it as a badge of pride (and I agree that to develop ones opinions is something that should be a source of pride) but, if you go into public office for instance, it’s almost certainly going to be used as a stick to beat you with.

    Remember that you don’t have to be wrong to get hounded out. A sufficiently controversial opinion is enough. The Larry Summers situation at Harvard showed that. In politics a change of opinion, ‘flip-flopping’ is enough to screw you.

    It’s only rational to tell it like it is if the benefits outweigh the costs. In this case the benefits and the costs are tough to determine but it’s certainly not clear that getting the message out to a few blog readers is worth getting hassle in a much more powerful position. I see this as a reason for prudence.

  • Great comic, I love it!

    “If you are not afraid of the voices inside you, you will not fear the critics outside you. Besides, those voices are merely guardians and demons protecting the real treasure, the first thoughts of the mind.”
    – Natalie Goldberg from Writing Down the Bones

  • I disagree that you shouldn’t censor what you write/post online or anywhere for that matter for fear that it could be used against you later in life. I think that Scott has a point when he says “If someone in the future chooses not to hire me because of something I expressed honestly in the past, I don’t want to work for them.”, and in a perfect world you would never have to work for someone stupider than you. However, I think we can all admit that life throws curveballs our way all the time and that there could easily be extenuating circumstances that force you into a job you don’t like. It seems to me that most of the people commenting on this are pretty smart, and so that makes it all the more likely that at some point in your life you will need something (like a job) from someone not quite as intelligent as you. It sucks, but that’s the way it is.

  • This has been just on my mind today and the person I talked to about it said something similar. No matter what you do, there will be stuff you will feel embarrassed about. This is why it is a niche right? Maybe it is not really about a possible future boss but about failing and the imagination of having no choice but to go back and work for someone else again.

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