Friday, December 14, 2012

As Roger Daltrey sang....."Whooo Are You"....

♪♪♪...Whoooo are you....who who...who who...Tell me whooo are you...♫♫♫

Photo Credit - Hang_In_There (Flickr)
personalityDo 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?


  1. I had this nice long comment typed out on my tablet, but I think Google ate it... Anyway...

    When I got my first job, I realized how outgoing I really was... Being honest and caring about the people I worked with and to this day I know I can walk in there and still have people greet me like an old friend. I shared minor secrets, and enjoyed my time there... It never felt like work. I loved them all, and wish I would have stayed longer.
    On the other hand, I watch Luke struggle at work functions, because as outgoing as he is, he is like you... Trying to separate work from play. The most recent one you know about, we went to a holiday party, and left after less than two hours, because no one even really said hello to us. It was so hard to watch him struggle between trying to be happy for me, yet so upset that people could care less.

    Personally, I could never be that quiet with the people I work with... That's not who I am. But I do think that the next time you are working, try letting one person in... You just never know who is going to be your next best friend!

  2. thanks ashleigh. i'm envious of your outgoing-ness with your old coworkers.
    i know old habits are kinda hard to break. but i think i will give it a try. thanks!

  3. It's definitely a balancing act. Your coworkers can certainly be your friends but I've learned to keep the really personal stuff out of my work life.

    As for romance at work - no way! I once had a coworker hit on me. I calmly said to him, "I don't sh** where I eat and I don't f*** where I work." His jaw dropped and I never got hit on there again. Considering I worked with all guys, that's something.

  4. Wow, suzi! great comeback to the guy who hit on you.
    It is really a balancing act at work. I think I may try to be more approachable at my next job. But will definitely try to keep my really personal stuff out of reach.


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