In this day and age where every little look means something, and every little phrase or #tweet means something else, where do we draw the line? At work, we are expected to achieve certain goals and carry a certain aura around us, In our personal life we spend an equal amount of time (or more) trying to distance ourselves from our work persona to lead a relatively happy home life. My question is this….What would happen if we just chose to put forth one (1) image and let the chips fall where they may?

Would it really be that bad to have some of the home-life drift into business? This may allow you to see obstacles in a new light, thereby allowing you to come to an answer in less time and with better-than-expected results. How bad would it really be if a little of the home-body or family-(wo)man to drift into the work arena and possibly keep the peace in a tense situation, or again set an alternative view to a pressing problem.

It doesn’t matter what you do, at some point that line has either become or will soon become blurred, your “secret” identity will become public and you will be outed as the super person you always knew you were. Why keep the good traits secret, or only bring them out on special occasions? You don’t (traditionally) keep secrets at home or with your inner-circle; so why not just take the bull by the horns and expand that horizon and allow everyone to see all facets of you.

Someone said to me recently, “Think of your life as a triangle, with you as the base and home and work at the sides. Do you not think that at some point home will blur into work and work into home?” If you think about it, it is rather inevitable and you will have to confront the obvious….No matter how hard you try, you are only one person and you can only please so many people in one day, why not start with yourself? Best laid plans occasionally do come to fruition and bear the mighty fruit that comes with success as surely as you can shoot yourself in the foot as you attempt to sell a new client on your product, thus losing the account. If we present one persona, one visible identity, then there would only be one person disappointed with the results… You!

Please yourself and by default you can have both a happy home life and a successful career.

Views: 162

Comment by bill josephson on April 26, 2011 at 10:56am


     Excellent post, in my opinion.  I find it pointless to try to be someone you're not be it in personal or business life/demeanor.  One should present in a way that's you and comfortable, or be rendered ineffective.  Clearly I'm digging more for information in my professional life whereas being more respectful of peoples' privacy in my personal life, but the manner/style is the same.

     In the end, as you said, let one succeed or fail being who one is and not lamenting in retrospect the "what if" game when having been someone you aren't.

Comment by Daniel J Smith on April 26, 2011 at 1:51pm

Thanks for the insight; As I am at somewhat of a cross-roads in my Journey-man life, I'm pleased that someone else out there "get's it" and can see a bigger picture than themselves


Comment by bill josephson on April 26, 2011 at 1:57pm

Daniel, in 1980 I was trained to be ultra aggressive "controlling" applicants and hiring managers to do things "my way."   Roughly 10-15 yearslater I learned quality people don't allow themselves to be "controlled," you have to reason with them as to what's in their best interests, not yours.


I struggled pushing people around but as the business became more service oriented (more conducive to my personality) instead of used car sales my success/billings improved.  Hard as I tried I was never comfortable being that aggressively pushy so wasn't as effective.

Comment by Daniel J Smith on April 26, 2011 at 3:24pm

Using people as cattle pretty much defines retail life. Personal trauma brought me to sourcing/recruiting as both are very similar. I wrote this hoping I would see the balance that my actions have brought me, and if I can give someone else the time to pause and think of the small things in the big picture (or the finesse) then I guess I can say that I have done my job


Comment by Sylvia Dahlby on May 1, 2011 at 3:07pm

Be yourself is good advice whether you're "in doubt" or not.  But are we not all more than one person? I am daughter, wife, student, business professional... would I treat my mom or my husband or a teacher in the same manner that I would a customer or coworker? In fact, would I speak to them each in exactly the same way or treat their opinions and advice equally? One's personality is often a direct reflection of who one is dealing with - and rightly so.  Besides, do we not all grow & change as well? So not only are we more than one person, we become a different person as we mature and as our circumstances and relationships change throughout our lives.

I also see generational differences in perspectives on this topic. I find young people have an easier time of blending their work & home personas than say boomers who are more accustomed to compartmentalizing the various aspects of their lives.  Don't get me started on how privacy is being eroded by modern ideas about "transparency" and "authenticity" - do I really need to know that my coworker suffers from irritable bowel syndrome or the details of her messy divorce? There are some facets (and secrets) of your personal life I'd rather not know about, thank you.

There's also "politically correct" backlash when we try to bring too much of our personal lives into the workplace - like religion, or the politics surrounding volatile issues such as gun control, gay rights or abortion... or Obama's birth certificate. Sometimes it's a good idea to leave your personal opinions at home, or at least confine them to the proper context like the editorial pages of your local newspaper or blog.

Call me old shool, but IMO your "professional" persona is something you can put on like you used to put on your "dress for success" work clothes. In a day where the most casual attire can be acceptable in a work environment, a business-like attitude & professional persona while at work (even if you're virtual) shows respect for your coworkers, clients and business associates. 

Comment by bill josephson on May 1, 2011 at 3:39pm

I agree about offering "too much information," it's a bad idea.  It's hard to talk about politics or religion even among most friends as people are usually passionate about what they believe through their own experiences which often engender bad feelings.


I do alter my style a bit as a recruiter depending who I'm talking with and if a type "A" or "B" personality.  I do speak differently when first speaking with women than I do men as they generally react quite differently when "cold" recruited, which I now presume when contacting.  For me, I'd much rather try to recruit men


But my basic style is the same--I'm just more aggressive and inquisitive in my job than I am in person as I realize as a recruiter sometimes my performing my role in a quest for effectiveness/success can make people nervous or uncomfortable.  In my personal life I'd back off long before crossing that road.


Comment by Daniel J Smith on May 1, 2011 at 6:35pm

Religion and Politics are definitely two topics never up for discussion. I don't know about the generational gap but I do believe things are done differently between Gen X and the "New Kids". Interesting that would become a sticking point for some people- Young and Old. I try to give the same attention regardless of age and would prefer that not being a color of the stick I'm painted with. All I want is honesty in my opinion and equal time to state my case. This isn't just me vs. them; but sometimes me vs. me vs. them. Thank you for your opinions.


Comment by Daniel J Smith on May 1, 2011 at 7:04pm

Please leave the generation gap off the table and consider this: Why do we do what we do and how do we react in situations of home-life versus word-life. Base this on work being you representing a company as opposed to you being the company. Do you act or react any differently or put on a different facade to suit the situation?


Comment by Sylvia Dahlby on May 1, 2011 at 8:49pm

re: Do you act or react any differently or put on a different facade to suit the situation?

OF COURSE - part of being in business or in any personal situation is to be and do what's expected or required.

For example, if you're the CEO of the company, your employees expect you to lead and that means showing confidence even when inside you are filled with doubts and trepidation.

Or if your a soldier, you may have to put on a brave face for your commanding officer and say "yes sir" in spite of fear or even doubts about your personal survival.

If you're a mother you also have to be able to nuture your kids & be there for them in spite of frustration with your marriage, health problems, or issues you're having at work.

Your sweetheart may expect you to be all lovey-dovey kissy-kissy, while your best friend likely would not appreciate the same touchy-feely affection from you... and neither would your cousin.

And if you're making a presentation in front of a room full of people, it might be a good idea to put on your stand up comic routine even if you're not feeling particularly witty. People go to Toastmasters to learn how to put up winning personality that might otherwise be awkward for them - it doesn't make a person less real or sincere.

All of us naturally wear different personas depending on the situation and our relationship to other people. There's nothing forced or phony about it - we simply adapt and change as needed and that's just being human.

Let me ask you this: Wouldn't you behave differently if you were a manager of a department vs one of the employees in that dept?

Comment by Daniel J Smith on May 2, 2011 at 9:41am
Been there. I spent a good portion of my career in the retail sector and in a management capacity. I tried the do-it-because-I-said-so approach and found it wasn't me. The best approach I found is to create a team atmosphere where everyone has a stake in the job.  Unfortunately, being the boss almost cost me my marriage so some give-and-take had to be created. Sometimes you need a good shake to realize what is truly important, sometimes the job, no matter how good you are or how well thought of you are just isn't worth the price. That being said, I understand your point of view Sylvia and respect what you say, but I am missing your feelings or thoughts on my last comment :Base this on work being you representing a company as opposed to you being the company. Do you act or react any differently or put on a different facade to suit the situation? Something to Think About.... (available at free plug


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