Photo Credit - Hang_In_There (Flickr)Do your coworkers know the real you? Are you afraid to let them see your true self? Or are you such a confident secure person that you let it all hang out? Maybe you think your're doing a good job of presenting a certain face but you've learned your coworkers are not fooled at all?
Revealing question? You bet!
This one made me really step back and think. I've always tried to keep the two worlds apart. I'm not one to mix work and play. I need that separation. Work is work, and home is home. And never the twain shall meet. I rationalized it would prevent sticky situations. Like - What if I got really close to a coworker and then we had a falling out? Would our wild and crazy party nights be revealed to the entire office by the coworker? Would divulged secrets be office fodder now?
Think about the coworkers who ill-advisedly get romantically involved. God forbid things go downhill and the rest of the department gets caught up in the awkward unraveling of the relationship. Word of advice: Office romance is taboo!!! Do not go there!
I always wanted my coworkers to see me as professional and dedicated. I tried to never let my businesslike demeanor slip. But after giving this some thought, I'm not so sure this was exactly my intent. Maybe it was a protective mechanism. Was I afraid they'd see I wasn't as smart and confident as I appeared? If I kept up the facade, they'd never think I was a fraud?
If so, it goes back to something I heard: "fake it till you make it". I mentioned in an earlier post that I inherited my dad's tough work ethic. He never let anyone see a weakness or a chink in his armor. He never said he couldn't do something. He just did it, gave it his best shot. Like father, like daughter. As the saying goes: "Never let them see me sweat".
Taking all this into consideration, who was I at my last job? The workload was heavy - I had no choice but to put my nose to the grindstone and push on. No time to relax. As a result, my former coworkers probably only saw that side of my personality. No time to be anyone besides the insane work-a-holic I was.
Was that a bad thing? Sadly, yes. When I was laid off none of my coworkers reached out to me. I felt adrift and alone. I realized since I'd kept everyone at arm's length, no one cared whether I was there or not. Yet, they were the people I spent the most time with. More than my family and friends. But I hadn't formed relationships with any of them.
Now I'm thinking about my next job and interactions I'll have with coworkers. Will I continue to be aloof and keep them at bay? Are old habits too hard to break? Or will I learn my lesson and let them peek inside my tough exterior to see the woman behind the mask?
How about you? Who are you? Do your coworkers know the real you? Why or why not? Any suggestions for me for my next job?