Are You Being True to Yourself at Work?
We spend a big chunk of our lives at work. So much so that we use our jobs to define ourselves. It’s part of our identity.
And despite the fact that working in the charity sector allows us to do work that’s aligned with our values, we’re still adopting different ‘workplace’ personalities that aren’t completely true to who we are outside the office.
Feeling like you’re one person at work and another in the rest of your life can be stressful. And it isn’t sustainable in the long-term, making us feel discouraged and dissatisfied in our jobs.
Luckily, the modern workplace is changing. There’s less pressure to put up a professional front because that’s less important than producing quality work. In other words, no one cares if you wear those old hemp sandals, as long as you’re getting things done.
So how can you ensure you’re really being true to yourself at work? Let’s take a look at the best way to bring the real ‘you’ into the office.
First, realise that being yourself isn’t going to harm your career
Not everyone finds ‘being themselves’ an easy task, especially in the office.
This could be due to the fact that you’re customer-facing or simply because you’re worried about how you come across to management and the rest of your team. There’s pressure—both from the people around us and self-imposed—that means that we feel like we don’t fit the mould of ‘charity worker’. And the more pressure we feel, the more we experience workplace stress.
But you have to realise, it’s really okay to be yourself in the workplace; people should accept you for who you are. And chances are, many people you work with have similar interests as you do.
Remember, nobody is perfect. Just because you work in a charity doesn’t mean that people expect you to be a saint. By all means, try as hard as you can at your job and put effort into the tasks you complete, but don’t change your personality to flex and mould to a role.
Don’t let traditional dress-codes hold you back
Hiding physical aspects of your personality—like tattoos and piercings—is another indicator that you aren’t being true to yourself at work. Of course, if it’s company policy, you may be required to take out piercings and cover tattoos while you’re at work.
If you’re someone who is proud of their tattoos, piercings, dyed hair or dress sense, it can feel like a blow to cover this part of your personality up. After all, it’s an expression of your remarkable creativity and identity; it tells other people a bit about who you are.
Don’t be discouraged if you have to cover up body art or piercings. Appearance is just one aspect of your identity—if you have to edit this a little bit, remember your personality can still shine through.
Hopefully, this one should be much less of a thing these days as we move away from more traditional, conservative ways of perceiving appearance. If you are good at your job and respectful of the people around you, that’s all that really matters. And in the charity sector, creativity and innovation are often appreciated.
Don’t be afraid to be opinionated
Each charity has a different culture, set of values and performance requirements that they expect employees to adhere too.
But chances are, they hired you because your personality and values match up; after all, if you were inspired to make the move to the third sector and understand what it means to work for a charity then you’re passionate enough about the right things.
Your employer’s public values should transfer to the way they treat their staff. Your thoughts, opinions and needs matter as an employee, so don’t ever feel like they aren’t important.
A good sign that you are being true to yourself at work is that you feel like you can be honest and open about your needs as an employee. You should be able to voice your thoughts (diplomatically, of course), have meaningful discussions with your managers and ask for help if you need it.
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Remember, being comfortable is a good thing
People who feel like they are being authentic at work tend to be happier, more satisfied and less stressed than people that don’t.
This means that you might be more comfortable around other people because you feel more welcome. And the end result isn’t just that your individual work improves, but your relationships and trust levels with your co-workers strengthen, resulting in better teamwork.
If all of this sounds familiar to you, then the chances are you are being true to yourself at work—and getting the most out of your job.
On the other hand, if you’re not being authentic at work, you may be feeling consistently stressed, tired and on-edge. It’s extremely exhausting and energy-draining to put on a ‘work face’ when you walk through the office doors every morning. And doing so can also impact your relationships with your colleagues as well as your own work—making you feel isolated, lonely and like an impostor.
Don’t let anything hold you back
Hiding or changing your personality at work takes a lot of mental and emotional energy, and over time you may find that you struggle to connect with your real self.
Thankfully, the modern workplace is changing for the better and giving charity sector workers the chance to be true to themselves in the office.
If you are being true to yourself at work, then the points above should sound familiar to you. If they don’t, then something might need to change.
Rodney Laws is an ecommerce expert with over a decade of experience in building online businesses. Check out his reviews on EcommercePlatforms.io and you’ll find practical tips that you can use to build the best online store for your business. Connect with him on Twitter @EcomPlatformsior.