Author Topic: Anonymity dilemma for FI bloggers / vloggers whilst still working  (Read 3619 times)

Albatross

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Hi All,

Was considering starting some form of vlogging on YT for FI - I think it'll be fun sharing ideas (especially since I'm trying to reach FI in HCOL with extreme anti-mustachian culture where I live) and also for tracking my own progress.

However - and this is something all FI bloggers and vloggers must face - how do you reconcile the ability to be open about your identity, finances etc, with the fact that you are still working?

If I were my boss I'm not sure I'd be too impressed with an employee talking about FI online (even if I made it clear that FI does not mean immediate early retirement).

Thoughts?

arebelspy

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Re: Anonymity dilemma for FI bloggers / vloggers whilst still working
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2017, 09:55:35 PM »
Think you'll get big enough anyone finds it?

Isn't that what FU money is for, to do what you want?

Some people aren't comfortable because family. Or other privacy reasons.

But work finding out seems like the least worrisome one to me.

Unless you're really banking on layoffs and a severance package, and you're worried they'll keep you on, knowing you're quitting anyways.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

chasesfish

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Re: Anonymity dilemma for FI bloggers / vloggers whilst still working
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2017, 10:18:48 PM »
Is there anything in your employment that would prevent it?  What's the worst that could happen?

I'm in the finance industry and publishing anything construed as financial or career advice (past these boards) has a risk of coming back and my employer finding out.  I am also required as part of my employment to disclose outside income, so it would only be an expense.

I just keep writing drafts...maybe 2018 will be the year

Albatross

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Re: Anonymity dilemma for FI bloggers / vloggers whilst still working
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2017, 10:28:35 PM »
Thanks - essentially there is a clear career progression where I work (legal field) and putting out a date for FI (and the journey towards it) may come across as not being dedicated to building a career where I am.

I won't second guess how 'big' i might become - who knows?

Retire-Canada

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Re: Anonymity dilemma for FI bloggers / vloggers whilst still working
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2017, 11:01:27 PM »
Start a journal here on MMM forums. It's a pretty obscure place for normal folks and FI interested people will find you. You can stay fairly anonymous crafting postings here. If you decide you want a bigger platform you can start a blog/Vlog later and port over some of your journal content so it's not a loss of effort.

If you aren't all that interested in RE part of FIRE you can talk about wealth building. That's not a taboo topic in a professional environment. The part that freaks normal people out is using wealth to not work instead of just buying more shit. You don't have to go there at first or ever. Aside from keeping your employer happy should they find your content it may also appeal to a wider audience than a blog talking about early retirement.

arebelspy

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Re: Anonymity dilemma for FI bloggers / vloggers whilst still working
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2017, 11:38:51 PM »
If you decide you want a bigger platform you can start a blog/Vlog later and port over some of your journal content so it's not a loss of effort.

Yup; I ended up turning a bunch of my travel journal posts into blog posts.

Plus here you have readers automatically interested in the content, and if you build it up here, they'll follow to wherever you move it (versus a much broader audience where a lot less are interested as a percent, plus have trouble finding it in the sea of info), and not as much of a worry about work finding it.  Time to experiment and find your voice, at least, and build up more FU money until you aren't worried about them finding out.

Many people, such as Frugalwoods, MadFIentist, etc. have had their work unexpectedly find out after being featured on Yahoo or Forbes or whatever, and it always worked out fine--but they were usually at the FU point, and within a few years of quitting.  Work never seemed to mind, even though that was a worry of theirs.  You could follow a similar path.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

The Happy Philosopher

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Re: Anonymity dilemma for FI bloggers / vloggers whilst still working
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2017, 12:03:13 AM »
J.D Roth told me once, or maybe he wrote this and I read it "assume no one and everyone will read your blog". I may be paraphrasing. Basically assume once you start blogging there is no guarantee of privacy. Do not write about people or personal information you don't want out in the world forever.

That said, we all assume people care more about what we are doing than the actually care. As long as you aren't doing anything too crazy it is doubtful anyone will really care. I blog anonymously, sort of, but I'm careful not to talk about anyone I work with or know personally unless they know I am writing about them or I blend a bunch of people and situations together to make things unrecognizable.

I think everyone should blog/podcast/vlog/etc. It is good for our soul to have a creative outlet, and to share what we have with the world.

I like Retire-Canada suggestion of starting on the forums with writing, although not suited for video.

tj

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Re: Anonymity dilemma for FI bloggers / vloggers whilst still working
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2017, 09:06:33 AM »
I briefly talked to MMM about this and even with his massively popular blog, probably 1% of his city has read or heard of his blog.


I've never really understood why folks are afraid of their coworkers or bosses finding out. It seems like many companies would be thrilled to replace an expensive long tenured employee with somebody newer and cheaper. I can't imagine they'd outright fire someone because they want to retire earlier than most. I'm not in that position though, so what do I know. :)
« Last Edit: January 23, 2017, 11:33:50 AM by tj »

Davids

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Re: Anonymity dilemma for FI bloggers / vloggers whilst still working
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2017, 11:02:29 AM »
Being anonymous should be easy, no need to disclose exact location or job or your name (who said I am really david...). Maybe play it safe and post from your phone at work instead of your work laptop on the company network.

Eric

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Re: Anonymity dilemma for FI bloggers / vloggers whilst still working
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2017, 01:57:11 PM »
You just need a pair of Groucho Marx glasses, then you can vlog to your heart's content.


arebelspy

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Re: Anonymity dilemma for FI bloggers / vloggers whilst still working
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2017, 02:45:11 PM »
You just need a pair of Groucho Marx glasses, then you can vlog to your heart's content.



Unless your job requires you to wear those!

...then take them off for the vlog.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

Albatross

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Re: Anonymity dilemma for FI bloggers / vloggers whilst still working
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2017, 08:59:21 PM »
Thanks all! And only just realised Arebelspy was responding - I heard you on the Mad Fientist podcast so it's good to hear from you. I, too, thought you were pronounced something like "Are-ble-spee".

The concern is that the position I'm working towards (partnership eventually) requires dedication to bringing in clients, building the firm and developing the brand. It can be difficult for old-school bosses to reconcile those goals with something I am working towards. Sometimes when just talking to friends about FI and the possibility of RE (even though the two are not necessarily linked), they immediately go "oh, so I guess you don't like your job then". There is some truth to that, otherwise I wouldn't be thinking about RE (whether or not I mention RE in a vlog). This is the main issue. I agree that once it's on the net, it's always there. I think bosses might be kinder if I had a side hustle like making bubble tea and I got in the newspapers. Might even get a pat on the back for entrepreneurship, but if the root of my interest is freedom from the (effective) bondage of having to come to work, and live on my own terms, I think they would have an issue.

I like the idea of 'masking' myself on a vlog. For a while was considering starting a vlog called "Anon Finance" or something - but might well come off as creepy. I'd also feel like one day, if and when I unmasked myself, there might be a sense of betrayal amongst those I worked with. I'll give it some thought, but I suspect the best way would be to simply do a blog. I just like video as a medium for connecting with others.

arebelspy

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Re: Anonymity dilemma for FI bloggers / vloggers whilst still working
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2017, 09:11:48 PM »
Thanks all! And only just realised Arebelspy was responding - I heard you on the Mad Fientist podcast so it's good to hear from you. I, too, thought you were pronounced something like "Are-ble-spee".

Haha, yes, I've obviously had to directly address this issue of "anonymity" myself, especially given the recent Business Insider/Sun articles with our full names, pictures, etc.

Less of a concern with "work" finding out, now that we're retired, but many others have concerns about their family finding out about their financial holdings and hitting them up for money, friends finding out and being jealous, etc. etc.

Quote
The concern is that the position I'm working towards (partnership eventually) requires dedication to bringing in clients, building the firm and developing the brand. It can be difficult for old-school bosses to reconcile those goals with something I am working towards. Sometimes when just talking to friends about FI and the possibility of RE (even though the two are not necessarily linked), they immediately go "oh, so I guess you don't like your job then". There is some truth to that, otherwise I wouldn't be thinking about RE (whether or not I mention RE in a vlog). This is the main issue. I agree that once it's on the net, it's always there. I think bosses might be kinder if I had a side hustle like making bubble tea and I got in the newspapers. Might even get a pat on the back for entrepreneurship, but if the root of my interest is freedom from the (effective) bondage of having to come to work, and live on my own terms, I think they would have an issue.

I like the idea of 'masking' myself on a vlog. For a while was considering starting a vlog called "Anon Finance" or something - but might well come off as creepy. I'd also feel like one day, if and when I unmasked myself, there might be a sense of betrayal amongst those I worked with. I'll give it some thought, but I suspect the best way would be to simply do a blog. I just like video as a medium for connecting with others.

How much longer are you working?  What do you think they'll do if they find out?  Pass you up for promotions?  How would that affect your FIRE time?

Or promote you, trying to hook you in, with golden handcuffs?  ;)

That's the thing, they won't understand the mentality, or believe that you'd actually quit, in my experience, until you actually give notice (and maybe not even then).

I don't think it'd affect anything if you announced tomorrow you were early retiring in X years, and starting a blog about it.  They'd laugh, roll their eyes, and move on.

Maybe not, of course, but that's how it usually seems to go.

I just think that:
1) They won't find out
2) If they do find out, they won't believe it,
3) If you do find out, and they believe it, they won't care
3) If they do find out, and they believe it, and they di care, it still won't materially affect you significantly.

The odds of all that happening are so small as to not be worth worrying about much, if at all.

YMMV, but those are my thoughts.  :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

Zikoris

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Re: Anonymity dilemma for FI bloggers / vloggers whilst still working
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2017, 10:29:55 PM »
Having been through the whole process of starting a small, anonymous blog, then having it blow up a bit and get outed to everyone, it's not so bad. We've always been pretty open with family and friends, so nobody important to us got any big surprises. Among coworkers, the response was basically either thinking it was cool, or not caring at all. The only negative reaction (outside of anonymous internet comments) we got at all was from one lunatic in our apartment building, but crazies gonna craze.

sol

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Re: Anonymity dilemma for FI bloggers / vloggers whilst still working
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2017, 10:45:12 PM »
I don't even have a blog, but I have been personally identified by multiple forum members just based on the content of my posts. 

If you write about your life, eventually someone will e-stalk you.  It's just part of the deal.

FIRE_at_45

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Re: Anonymity dilemma for FI bloggers / vloggers whilst still working
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2017, 10:55:03 PM »
I don't even have a blog, but I have been personally identified by multiple forum members just based on the content of my posts. 

If you write about your life, eventually someone will e-stalk you.  It's just part of the deal.

That's interesting.  I'm actually interested in meeting some people who read my journal so I don't know whether to be concerned about being anonymous or not.  Sometimes I think it would be more rewarding not to be anonymous. 

Albatross

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Re: Anonymity dilemma for FI bloggers / vloggers whilst still working
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2017, 11:15:17 PM »
I'd love it if I didn't need to be anonymous - but as I stated above, the nature of my job probably precludes that.

Arebelspy - I have approx 14 years to FI :( and approx 8 years before considered for the top job. Unfortunately where I live, everything is expensive. It is likely that they would see a FI/RE goal as incompatible with dedication to the top job. I know at least one colleague who could RE anytime, but apart from imparting his knowledge to me, made it clear this is a private matter in such a conservative business environment, and that plans for FI/RE would be detrimental to future career prospects given its inherent indication that you don't plan to stick around. It's obviously different if you're already FI, but I am not even close.

arebelspy

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Re: Anonymity dilemma for FI bloggers / vloggers whilst still working
« Reply #17 on: January 25, 2017, 12:11:56 AM »
The thing is, if you get big enough, you won't need the job anymore, as your blogging hobby can support you.

And if it can't, you probably aren't that big. 

Sounds like you have 8 years to blow up into something big, or have it fall flat and go partner.

Either way is a win.

;)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

Albatross

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Re: Anonymity dilemma for FI bloggers / vloggers whilst still working
« Reply #18 on: January 25, 2017, 12:30:05 AM »
I like your thinking! The side hustle is well and truly awesome.