I recently caught up with a group of friends at work and the topic of conversation turned to the various people we all work with. Since I don’t work in the same business unit as most of them, I was surprised that I knew certain names my friends mentioned. They looked at me with a confused at why I knew these people as my line of work requires no association with them. As the conversation progressed, it was me with the confused face as my friends recounted their interactions with the people I knew outside of work, since their work behaviour was the complete opposite to what I was used to seeing from them.
When I expressed my disbelief that we were talking about the same people, I also suggested that maybe work brought out the stressed side of their personalities and thus certain behaviours were expressed on a regular basis. While they agreed that work does bring on stress, the fact that they were known to act a certain way in meetings meant they were known as certain type of people. I refused to let their opinion affect my personal opinion of these people, as I was used to seeing their constant kind, generous side.
This conversation, however, really played on my mind as I started to question if I was completely different at work to how I am at home. While I understand that we adapt our behaviour given the situation, I ultimately want to believe I am the same person at home, work and play. To think that I act the complete opposite to how my children, family and friends see me to how I act at work really made my stomach turn.
During my last few days at work before maternity leave, I was really lucky to have some people say very nice things about me. Three people used the same word to describe me – genuine. That made me realise that was the key. As long as I was genuine in all I do, then I would act the same wherever I was and whatever situation I was in. I am perfectly aware that I will sometimes put on a fake smile or politely endure a conversation I don’t want to be a part of, but as long as I am known for the things I want to be known for wherever I am, then I know I am being my true self. And that is exactly what I want my children to understand and practice.