Being yourself at work is all about the right to feel comfortable in your work environment. You should be able to go to work without having to worry about what colleagues may think about you, you are there to do a job and deserve to do it without pretending to be someone that you’re not. If you are able to feel comfortable and you bring your ‘whole self’ to work, it’s more likely that the work you do will be better. We have taken this opportunity to explain why you should want to be yourself and why it may be a positive choice for you and your career.
What does ‘be yourself’ mean?
An important thing to clear up straight away is that ‘bringing your whole self to work’ doesn’t have to mean that your boss and work colleagues know every single detail about you and your personal life. You can keep parts of your life private, in fact for some people it’s better to have a completely separate work-life and home-life.
Being yourself at work simply means you can be authentic. You bring both the good and bad parts of you to work because nobody is perfect. It’s about acknowledging your talents, failures and accomplishments and being proud of yourself and how you put a little bit of you into your work. Your job is a part of you, and it can help develop you as a person. Your work experiences can change who you are and teach you valuable life lessons. Be open about your failures and your achievements and it can help you learn and develop as a person as well as a professional.
Why be yourself at work?
The idea of having to be a perfect employee is what causes some people to put on a fake persona at work. However, the idea of having to be completely perfect all the time can be both physically and mentally exhausting. Plus, how can we learn if we don’t allow ourselves to embrace our mistakes? You should feel comfortable and relaxed at work, in a way that allows you to express who you are.
Being a bit more open with your work colleagues can sometimes help build trust and better work relationships. Again, you don’t have to share the nitty-gritty details about your personal life but being able to chat to your co-workers will help you all feel better about working together on a daily basis.
Being able to be yourself at work can also help your creative side. The idea of being happier and more content whilst in your workplace may help you work better and be more creative with your ideas.
Try and learn about your colleagues as well
Asking your colleagues questions and learning more about them can help you feel better about being yourself. Learning more about them and building trust is another way of helping you feel comfortable at work. It’s important to make sure that you aren’t crossing any boundaries though, don’t ask questions that are too personal as it can make them feel uncomfortable. Just start with the basics and if they open up a bit more, great, if not, you can still build a strong work relationship knowing that they are comfortable around you. Everyone has different boundaries. Diversity is very important at work, so embrace who you are and be courteous about the people around you. Be respectful and they are likely to do the same.
A good employer will help you
It is down to your employer to help you feel comfortable at work. A big reason for people not being themselves at work is because they may worry about what other people will think about them. Some people have different views and where they are not always right, it can be difficult to change their minds. I’m not going to say that discrimination won’t happen in the workplace, it is always a possibility. But being yourself not only helps you become more confident; it can help shut down prejudices. It doesn’t just happen overnight, but sometimes people don’t agree with something because they don’t know enough about the subject. Your employer should work on diversity and inclusion and make sure you are working in a safe and happy environment.
You might not currently be in a job and you’re worried about being yourself in interviews. Don’t try and create a persona that they would love, if it’s not who you are. You’re there to impress them, but not to put on a show. Interviewers want to see the real you. Understand what you want from a job, what your ambitions are and how you got to be sitting in front of them interviewing for this job. There are a lot of things that make up you as a person and your job as an engineer is a part of you. They want to hear about your talents and what you want in your career.
It’s also important for you to find out if you would be a good fit for their company. Company culture can be an important part of the workplace and seeing if you fit in can be scary at first. It might be a bit nerve wracking to just be you in an interview, but it can be so rewarding. Plus, keeping up an act is just one extra thing you have to remember to do in an interview.
Being yourself will hopefully make your job search or your life at work a lot more enjoyable. You shouldn’t have to pretend to be someone else in order to get a job. You should be able to be you at work and be happy about it. Don’t sacrifice your happiness at work for the sake of making someone else happy, it’s your life and your career.