Jussi Pekonen

On my personal "brand"

As one of the most senior people in the company I work for, my job description includes also a task to participate in employer branding activities. Such activities include attending various events, giving presentations, etc. I have nothing against doing such things, but I have a couple of reservations with it.

The first and foremost ”problem” is that I am currently 100% allocated to a customer project. That means that all my work time is spent on doing work within that project and any work external to that scope, such as attending events and giving presentations, would need to happen outside my regular working hours. That, in turn, is something I currently cannot do as my free time is pretty much fully booked already. Also, I would rather spend the time outside of working hours by relaxing and unwinding from the actual day job.

Alternatively, I could do these external things as part of my regular working hours, but then I would need to take away working hours from the project. While we should have 10% allocation on non-project work in our company1, which I could more than happily use for events and presentations, I would need a permission from the customer to use my time for such non-project activities.

The second issue I have with the whole ”employer branding” thing is that it can easily become a matter of personal branding. If you give talks at various events about a certain topic, you can easily be ”mistaken” as the expert in that topic, thus mixing up the employer and personal branding activities. This mix-up gets more prevalent in cases where you are the only person (or one of the very few) in the company who knows about that (niche) topic.

Also, participating events and especially giving presentations at the event may become opportunities for other prospective employers to target you as a potential new employee for their company. That, in turn, can amplify the confusion between the employer and personal branding activities even more if one let’s this attention to boost one’s ego.

You might have guessed what my take on the whole personal branding thing is. Yes, I find it actually rather awkward and cumbersome. But I will try to do that anyway. As a part of such activities, I have plans to write about some selected topics to my software blog. So stay tuned.

  1. 1. The COVID shenanigans changed this in such a way that our project allocations were changed to full 100% instead of 90%.  ↩︎

Tags: Employer branding, Personal branding, Blogging