There’s a quote by Simon Sinek that says “If you’re different at work than you are at home, in one of those two places you’re lying.” And we couldn’t agree more!
It’s so important to work in a place that allows you to completely be yourself at work. It takes a lot of energy to be someone different, and while this might be okay in the short-term, it’s definitely not going to be sustainable in the long-term. You’re going to get worn down eventually and start looking for a different role.
Now, of course every single position is going to require stepping out of your comfort zone from time-to-time. That’s how we grow. We’re not talking about making yourself uncomfortable in order to be better. We’re talking about if you change your personality while you’re at work. You should never have to change who you are, especially when you spend so much of your time at work.
First off, how do you go about making sure when you’re searching for a new job that the environment is going to allow you to be yourself and thrive?
You have to really pay attention during the interview process, while also taking a deep dive into yourself. If you’re an extrovert who gets energy by being around people, maybe you shouldn’t work in a place that has high cubicle walls and doesn’t promote collaboration. If you’re a person that does your best work in an uninterrupted routine, don’t take a job that involves a lot of varied schedules and last-minute changes in plan.
You’re able to truly be yourself when you’re in an environment that aligns with your natural tendencies. So first, you have to determine what environment you thrive in, and then search for that fit in the interview process. Ask questions of the interviewer(s) that will help you qualify the opportunity to see if it aligns.
So then, what do you do if you’re currently in a role where you don’t feel comfortable being yourself?
You need to start by determining if the problem is internal or external. Are you concerned that your coworkers will think you’re weird? Are you worried that asking for some schedule flexibility in order to take your kids to school will make you appear not fully invested in your job? Are you stressed that being direct with a coworker will cause them to gossip about you at the water cooler? All of these scenarios are centered on being concerned about how SOMEONE ELSE perceives you. If you’re afraid to be yourself because of how someone else is going to judge you, there’s not a problem with the job or environment – you need to take a deep look inside yourself because you’re letting other people’s possible opinions of you affect how you live your life.
But maybe you can’t be yourself at work, not because of your own lack of confidence, but because of the inherent environment. If the role or company culture simply doesn’t allow you to do your best work, then there’s a problem with the job itself and it might be time to look for a new opportunity.
At the end of the day, we’re able to be authentically ourselves no matter where we are when we’re in an environment that supports our natural personality and when we stop caring about other people’s opinions and perceptions. If you’re able to find the self-confidence to be who you are meant to be, while also being in a work environment that enhances that, you’ll never have a problem with showing up as anyone less than yourself.
By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding