By: Revanche

Things within my control: Part 1

March 2, 2009

At the worst of times, I prefer to be proactive more than reactive. Yes, it’s a control thing. It’s also an attitude and optimism thing. Or maybe just an attitude & control thing. Whatever, instead of just fruitlessly moping and hoping, I’m running a little mini-series of things under my control.

This week, I’ll be publishing daily lists as a reminder that there’s always something productive to do rather than sinking into depression. I refuse to let worry and fear dictate my agenda, career and life. The weighty concerns of the economy, at macro and micro scales, are not being dismissed, just given their due measure of consideration and no more than that.

Some of these I’ve actually managed to complete already, so I already have a sense of accomplishment! Nothing like loading the die in your favor. 🙂

Organizing Money and Life:

~ Reviewing my system for money management

~ Converting my one solitary paper bond

~ Roll over an old Rollover IRA from WAMU to Vanguard, eliminating a $25 annual fee

~ Opting out of creepy search/indexing sites. Thanks to Little Miss Moneybags for the heads-up about some of these sites. I hate the fact that there are kids ten+ years younger than me, with my not terribly common name, posting on Facebook and MySpace so that if you Googled my name, you’d get the impression that I’m a 19 year old lacking in all common grammar and syntax capabilities. The idea that my name, age, address, phone number, and family members‘ names can be searched and paid for? Oh no. No way, buddy.

On a similar note, Frugal Zeitgeist’s Faceoff covers many reasons why I neither Facebook nor MySpace. I do use LinkedIn because it’s primarily professional, but am cautious about what I post there as well. Friends think I’m paranoid when I won’t let them tag my photos, or share my personal info online, but there’s a good reason for it. You’ve all heard of the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, right? Well, it’s the same concept: so many of us have widespread networks that it’s inconceivable that all my personal-life photos would remain personal, and out of my professional world.

Perhaps I work with a larger population of creepy people than most, but I’ve had coworkers who would window stalk me whenever I stepped out for lunch, and eavesdrop on every conversation. One dude would literally run from one office to the next at the sound of laughter, determined to find the source of conversation and join in even when it was private. If people are comfortable doing that in person, how much more convenient would cyber-stalking be? The notion that someone can easily access information about me, whether I know them or not, for personal amusement or gain, is far outside my realm of comfort. I also know someone who sits around and Googles names to see what information they can find. I’d rather keep available information to an absolute minimum.

With the job search, I’ve considered a professional Twitter, but I doubt it. The benefits have to far outweigh the cost and risk of having more personal information floating out there on the web.

9 Responses to “Things within my control: Part 1”

  1. L.A. Daze says:

    “One dude would literally run from one office to the next at the sound of laughter, determined to find the source of conversation and join in even when it was private.”

    Ok…that…is freaky. People do such things?

    I deleted all my photo albums from Facebook last week and removed all the tags as well. Not that I had anything bad in there, I just don’t want people who are in my work network looking at those pictures. Next up is to delete my MySpace account!

  2. I guess I’m lucky that I have an insanely common name. I don’t show up in a google search or facebook search, at least not right away. If you google my screen name from 10 years ago, you could link me to my blog and twitter and stuff, but I’m not sure who would care enough, or know enough, at this point.

  3. Gledwood says:

    Hey don’t you think it’s fantastic that finally it’s in vogue to scrimp and save and basically get common good value (or IS it so common??!???) rather than trying to “fit in” by over-spending, living beyind one’s means e.g. dining at restaurants one cannot afford and shopping for designer clothes that are basically out of one’s price range.
    In days gone by the luxury goods market catered to a tiny proportion of the population who looked after their purchases and shopped for what they liked rather than what they thought they ought to be seen using/holding/whatever… as soon as this dreadful social climbing for nonentities nonlifestyle bites the dust the better… I know one person who was sucked into it pretty badly. if her dad hadn’t been able to bail her out to the tune of £5000 a time I don’t know what she would have done…

  4. mOOm says:

    I’m an academic and so professionally I have to be very searchable and accessible online. My name is common but putting my name and discipline into Google immediately hits me as the top search item. I don’t have any problems with this. The more people who find me as a source of information on my research areas the better. I recently started a LinkedIn account – the only additional info there are who I’m connected to. My professional site has a personal page which includes links to my brother’s (his site is mostly about his art) and wife’s webpages (she’s also a researcher), and some family tree stuff. We put our wedding pictures on Flickr. I don’t see any of this as a problem. Anyone can get my phone number and home address from the online phone book anyway there aren’t that many people with my name in Australia (lots in the US and some other countries).

    Only my wife, brother, and mother all know about my personal finance blog. Things are getting tricky there if I refer to things in this city as it is a small town (well 350,000 people but only a couple of universities…)

  5. Sense says:

    Yeah, I keep all my info, even on Facebook, viewable only to my ‘friends’ and sometimes, only me. I don’t know how crackable that code is, but I feel fairly safe. I haven’t run into anyone as weird as the window-stalkers (What IS that, exactly??).

    I also don’t friend anyone I work with. Previous coworkers, yes, but only the ones who already know how I felt about work stuff…for instance, NOT my supervisor nor the other project managers from my old job.

    …and people think I’m paranoid for even that degree of cautiousness!

  6. frugalCPA says:

    I just googled my name and the first entry is not me, but another accountant with the same name. That’s going to confuse people, I’m sure. My LinkedIn and Facebook profiles also show up, as do my personal and professional blogs. I’m not too worried about stalkers, but I definitely want to be secure with passwords and other confidential info.

    Word Verification: craci, as in it would be craci if anyone believed that you use poor grammar.

  7. I’ve removed my profile picture on facebook and rarely update my status. I don’t post pictures because it’s too risky. My coworker requested to add me so I have to be extra careful.

    Honestly I’m tired of Facebook. It feels like high school. Most of my friends put up lame pictures of them drinking at some party or their relationship status. At some point I’ll probably just delete my account.

    I’m starting to feel like all this online stuff is taking a piece of my soul and identity.

  8. Revanche says:

    L.A. Daze: Yep, even though I watched it happen, I had trouble believing my eyes.

    Paranoidasteroid: There’s definitely a benefit to having a common name; I used to love that there were no “mes” online … until the young’uns started popping up.

    Gledwood: Sure hope the bailed out friend learned her lesson, though I no longer believe that it’s very likely.

    mOOm: Agreed, I hate it when professional academics aren’t reachable since they should have provided good contact information when dealing with my office. It affects them professionally if I can’t reach them, so that makes sense, but I wouldn’t dream of expecting to get personal information. Nor would I want to have to wade through a bunch of personal stuff to get to the professional information I need!

    Sense: Window-stalker: one of the jerks I used to work with would run to the window and visually stalk whomever was his point of interest. He’d then go to the next window, and the next, if he could, to continue watching.

    I keep thinking that once I have a new job and distance from this place, I would get on Facebook because that’s how all my friends stay connected and share photos which I never get to see anymore. But … I dunno.

    I would NOT friend coworkers, only actual friends. Not FBing at all allows me to avoid that whole, “why won’t you friend me?” thing.

    frugalCPA: 🙂 I hope he’s a good accountant so that you can “draft” him later on! 😉

    Hah, I love your “use word verification word in a sentence.” So appropriate.

    sfordinarygirl: I try to set up boundaries to accommodate my comfort level early on so it doesn’t get to that point.

  9. mOOm says:

    My personal stuff is on a page on the website headed “Personal”. As I said there are links to family related websites on that page and a little biographical info that isn’t on my CV – i.e. where I was born and the High School I went to. Purpose is for former friends trying to find me on the web… Also as my first degree isn’t from the country I was born in, some people wonder where I’m from and if I’m a native English speaker (I am). I’m sure more than one interviewer has been surprised when they met me and hear my accent 🙂

    Also as my wife works in the same field broadly defined it can’t hurt to occasionally send some traffic to her page.

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