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Polywork Reads: Sorry, posting on social media isn’t a personal brand

Polywork Reads: Sorry, posting on social media isn’t a personal brand

Our first Polywork Reads of 2024 is upon us, and with it, a selection of the latest articles from around the web spanning side income, personal branding, and the future of work. We know that you may have missed these while you were detaching from media (read: reality) for a few days, so we’ve got you covered.

In this edition: why posting on social media is not synonymous with building a personal brand, how “flextirement” could usher in a new future of work, and bad news for in-office proponents, who are coming to grips with the reality that issues much larger than remote work has curbed productivity in recent years.

Let’s start reading!

(Miss our last edition of Polywork Reads? You can catch up here)

A plea to decouple personal brand from social media posting

No one is arguing that there are not tried-and-true ways to leverage social media for a stronger personal brand. However, the lines between posting on platforms — namely LinkedIn — and raising brand status have begun to blur into a proliferation of generic "how to" content, as Founder Deepika Pundora shouts from the rooftops in Hackernoon.

“It’s surely not easy or comfortable to put yourself out there – just as much for the attention as for the scrutiny of it all. But for the love of books, I can’t seem to understand how the term “personal branding” came to be equated with posting on LinkedIn,” she says in the article.

Pundora argues that personal brand is more about the full image you’ve cultivated and how others relate to this image, rather than purely reputation.

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“The idea is simple. You get to control the narrative about who you are, what you do, and the values you stand for. You’re the captain of the ship. You get to steer it in the direction you want to take it, instead of following the currents. And LinkedIn happens to provide a platform to do just that,” she adds.

A solution, according to Pundora: “Rather than sharing mediocre, regurgitated content to demonstrate expertise, let your body of work speak for your expertise. Talk from experience, share learnings from the work you’re doing, not Google’s top 10 results.”

Or, you know, you can showcase a more holistic narrative of your professional and personal achievements on some other really cool platforms out there.

You're Not Building a Personal Brand; You're Just Posting on LinkedIn | Hackernoon

Who needs retirement when you can partake in flextirement?

Companies attempting to curb the mass retirement of Baby Boomers — and the knowledge vacuum that accompanies it — could find a solution in the form of introducing “flextirement” options into their organizations, Neil Costa writes in Fast Company.

What exactly is flextirement? “Flextirement has everything to do with striking a balance between employees and employers as opposed to flipping the switch from employee to retiree. Flextirement would allow employees the opportunity to semi-retire, never fully leaving their current job or finding a new opportunity but working in some part-time capacity. This could be focused on key initiatives, a project basis, or a mentorship role,” Costa says.

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In practice, flextirement is intended to ease the transition of critical functions or knowledge from a swiftly retiring Baby Boomer generation to their Gen X and Millennial counterparts.

“Flextirement would act as a new employee status. This would allow for a worker (existing or new) to work part time but also enjoy their time off, working when it fits for both parties. Therefore, as workers come closer to retirement, they don’t have to abandon their careers and expertise to hit the pickleball courts. They can continue contributing to a company and a career that has been an important part of their life for decades,” he says in the article.

‘Flextirement’ is the future of work | Fast Company

In-office mandates and productivity are not one in the same, data shows

Sentiments from leaders surrounding productivity (and, at times, the paranoia that comes with it) appear to be at odds with in-office mandates that they’re proposing, according to a recent article in Fortune.

“By the end of 2024, executives will be forced to admit their RTO mandates did not improve productivity,” says Annie Dean of software company Atlassian, in the article.

And Dean has the data to back it up: despite mandating time in the office, 91% of executives were still concerned about productivity.

So what’s the solution? "It’s not likely to come in the form of return-to-office mandates. The “quick fix” to productivity and engagement issues are a reach for companies. Instead, they’ll have to invest in solving for other critical issues that have been left unaddressed since long before the pandemic, such as burnout or communication lapses," the article states.

CEOs will finally admit next year that return-to-office mandates didn’t move the productivity needle, future of work experts predict | Fortune

Honorable mentions

As 2024 Approaches, the Future of Work Feels Like It’s at a Tipping Point | Adweek

3 Secrets to Starting a High-Income Side Hustle in 2024, According to People Whose Gigs Make More Than $20,000 a Month | Entrepreneur

How To Start A $500-Per-Month Speaker Side Hustle In 2024 | Forbes