Thursday, January 28, 2010

Is Work/Life Balance Possible In Social Media Careers?

I'll say right off the bat that this post is going to be half-baked because I'm rushing to write it because it's 9:30 pm and my husband hates when I'm blogging at 9:30 pm. But Ryan Paugh, Community Manager at Brazen Careerist, started a great discussion today in the Community Manager group there and I promised I'd write a post about it today. His question was
Ok, I definitely want to ask everyone how they maintain a healthy work-life balance, blend or whatever you want to call it, as a Community Manager. It's something Maggie and I started talking about yesterday. Can you guys share any stories, tips, etc?

I answered that I think social media/community management jobs (that's another post for another time: are social media manager and community manager really interchangeable terms?) are incredibly time-consuming and make work/life balance very hard.

Why? Because social media jobs require you to do more than one full time job. One is the job you're being paid for: social media management. Already a daunting task because you're more than likely swimming upstream--having to not only do your job but evangelize both externally and internally all the while. So your days are full just doing what you're being paid to do.

Then there's the other part of social media jobs: staying on top of new tools, trends, news, etc and managing your personal brand. Both are, in my opinion, crucial to your success both in your current job and for future career opportunities. It's no secret that the social media world is all about who you know. And who you are both online and off.

Look at all the social media A-listers. They're blogging--frequently. They're tweeting constantly. They're traveling all the time, doing speaking engagements. They're getting book deals. They're reading masses of stuff--blog posts, books, articles. They're on pretty much all the time. How do you live that life and have time to devote to family or friends or spouses or kids?

I'm nothing close to a social media A-lister, but I do have a social media career and I'm here to tell you that finding a way to work 8 hours a day, blog, read, socialize either online or off and just stay on top of the things I need not only to do my job now to the best of my ability but also hopefully ensure that I stay gainfully employed for the next 25+ years in what's becoming an increasingly lucrative and competitive's exhausting. Fun, but incredibly time-consuming and hard to balance with my responsibilities as a mom and a wife.

Speaking of which, time to wrap up this post. So what do you think--is it just me or do others in my same boat feel the same way?

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