What is a blog?
And why make one?
Blog: a website that contains online personal reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks, videos, and photographs provided by the writer. [Mirriam Webster]
At the end of the day a blog is usually just text on a screen, but it can mean so much more. Many blogs are dedicated to specific topics or niche industries and dive deep into the authors’ area of specialization. However, this will not be a blog for information on a specific subject. This is a blog for me, by me. Let me explain.
In the beginning of matthewgougeon.me the purpose of my website was to showcase my work, to be an extension of my resume. While at Waterloo, my more motivated peers were doing the same, so I figured it would be a great idea to stand out from the crowd. I periodically (typically every four months) worked to update content, change layouts, and refine my monstrosity. However, over the four to five years of upkeep aimed at employers I am still not sure it was ever a factor in getting an interview, let alone getting hired.
After graduating in 2018 I knew my website was badly in need of an update, something different. After going into the family business, I realized that I no longer needed, nor wanted, just an online resume. Furthermore, showing a well-polished portfolio of the professional projects that I had done felt unnecessary and almost contrived. I had worked every piece of my professional life thus far into boxes, “What I did”, “Tools I Used”, “What I learned”, and made them sound like good stories while leaving out the hard parts and the areas I wasn’t strong in. Re-reading and reflecting on my portfolio pushed me to realize that real life was a lot different from the way I had portrayed my working experiences.
While reflecting on what I wanted this site to be about I realized that completely removing the professional aspect would be a mistake. I still want to put myself out there, show others what I have accomplished, and solicit additional opportunities. Furthermore, an HTML resume is, I hope, a lot easier to update than a PDF; with no page limits and somewhat easier formatting (looking at you CSS). So, in the end, the resume aspect of my website is here to stay. The difference now is that it’s not my primary goal with the site.
In thinking about my website I posited that a worthy motive was “To publish a collection of thoughts and information on what I have done, am doing and will do.” The first part of this goal is in line with what a Blog should be, but I think the second is somewhat unique in a few ways. (1) This is a selfish endeavor. Although I hope for my thoughts and information to be useful to others this is not the primary goal. This forum is dedicated to whatever I feel like writing about. (2) I will write about my lived experiences, “Skin in the Game” so to speak. Every post that I write will be motivated by and based on an experience or mediation that I have gone through. No writing about things that I have not interacted with firsthand, no bullshit. (3) I won’t be writing regularly; I’ll be doing regularly. My goal is not to become a writer, but to record and share concepts and thoughts that I think are unique and valuable. If there is nothing particularly unique or valuable going on in my head, then I won’t be writing.
So here we are, a website that is part resume, part blog, all me, and wholly imperfect. I hope you find it interesting at least and useful at best.