Personal and professional lives – what’s the difference?

I had a few spare moments and thought I’d write a brief piece on something that features very heavily in my life since training to become a teacher. What exactly is meant by the terms “personal” and “professional” lives?

When I spoke at the BETT conference all the way back in January I spoke about this, relating it specifically to my use of Twitter. When starting the course, my coursemates and I were advised to create a Twitter account and a blog. We were also advised that it may be a good idea to create a separate Twitter account if we already had one, one that could be used purely for professional purposes and to make our current “personal” one, private.

I have so many accounts for different things already, so the thought of adding another to the list was an unattractive prospect. Besides, I had nothing to hide; I liked using Twitter to share things, retweet things I found funny or interesting, stalk famous people…things that most people would say they enjoy Twitter for. I have never been rude, used offensive language or posted anything that could be detrimental to my future career. Why couldn’t I use the one account?

Everyone else on my specialism created a separate profile and I totally understand why. But some people have questioned why I’ve kept mine the same, and my answer is simply, “because I want to.” I think it’s important to separate your personal and professional life at times, of course, but I’d say a lot of the time these two areas often intertwine. If I’m out somewhere on the weekend, which most would say is part of my personal life, I may see something I think could be useful for a lesson in the future. For example, I may take a photo of a stunning sunset for potential use in a future art lesson for a colour washing project. This will most likely upload straight to Twitter, to share with others but also so I can find it easy later on. But it’s also just me, taking a photo of something I think looks beautiful and therefore I want a picture to remember it by, which I can upload to Instagram or print out later on. My personal life will have complimented my professional life; they can exist side by side. It saves the hassle of uploading a picture to two separate accounts with two separate captions, especially when there is no need.

People may say I’m being hypocritical, because the other form of social media I use the most, Facebook, is set to private. This is because it is the platform the majority of my family and friends use, and I use it to share more personal information and photos. Again, it’s never anything to be ashamed of; I (rarely) swear, I don’t post vulgar or offensive material. But it’s just a space where I can talk to my friends and family without everyone knowing what I’m up to. It’s not just about me either; I may post things and photographs about friends and family which I wouldn’t want the whole Twitter community knowing and which, to be honest, they probably couldn’t care less about anyway.

I’m not saying that having two Twitter accounts is the wrong thing, I am just explaining why, if you’re sensible, your personal and professional lives can exist alongside and compliment one another. They don’t have to be isolated.

Do you have separate accounts or just the one, and why? How do you create a split between your personal and professional lives, or do you think they’re always running alongside one another? Let me know! 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Personal and professional lives – what’s the difference?

  1. Facebook is set to private. Twitter is for whatever. I’m with you. Twitter can be used for teaching stuff, but just doing teaching stuff makes for a boring feed. We are humans and what makes us interesting is being well-rounded. I don’t want to find a funny gif, have to switch accounts, then tweet it. Whatever. I even created a twitter account for my class monster (this one, my normal account is @TheWeirdTeacher) that I use every once in a while.

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