Being Authentic in Your Work
I learned a great lesson recently.
Two weeks ago I was hired to help the company I intern for (a really great place to work, by the way) to set up some blogs and help edit, research and contribute my own columns.
That’s right; I am now a part time professional blogger. And I am not sure I could have done it (no, in fact I’m positive I could not have done it) without the help of The Great Office Escape.
How did this happen? Well, if you have been following this blog since it’s inception in the summer of 2007, I was very adamant about not letting my employer at the time ever know it existed. Many of my entries in those days seemed to mock the very nature of the work I was currently doing (as an administrative assistant for a financial adviser.) I was afraid to ever log in to my blog at work, for fear he would see the nature of my web site and fire me on the spot.
Flash forward to the present: I am working for a company part time as an intern and web developer; a company with a mission I respect greatly. I come to work, get a few projects to help with, and am left alone. When I need help with something, I will ask one of the more experienced developers for their opinions. They are very understanding and also give great feedback. There are no “office politics” at this company because everyone has a contribution to make and everyone respect’s each others’ differences. In other words, this place is the polar opposite of the nightmarish working conditions that I suffered through before.
So I was meeting with one of my co-workers who suggested that I speak with a member of the marketing team about becoming a blogger (since he was looking for one at the time.) I agreed to do this, since I knew about blogging from this site and figured I might have a shot even with no journalism/english degree of any kind. When he met with me, asked me if I had any blogging or writing experience before. Immediately I thought about this website, but it was much harder to want to just come out and say, “Yes, I run an anti 9-to-5 website where I talk about how much I don’t like working in offices, where I encourage people to quit jobs they aren’t satisfied with and where I slam office culture every entry.”
But I did. I sent him a link to this blog. My potential future employer reading The Great Office Escape. I felt like I had just set my own child down in a gorilla cage with a banana tied to the top of his head.
The next day I was really worried that he’d hate The Great Office Escape and would tell all my co-workers that I had this crazy anti-work blog and am really a terrible employee. I didn’t sleep too well that night as I went back and forth in my mind as to whether or not I did the right thing. My heart had told me to send him this link. After all, this blog is the greatest expression of who I am, so how could I be wrong?
The next day I met with him.
He told me he had read a few of my entries from site and liked them! Not only did he offer me the job right away, but he was enthusiastic about it. And I’m excited to begin my “writing career” for them. The only warning I got was that I needed to be a bit of a “team player” in order to make this work. No problem.
So The Great Office Escape got me a job. Incredible. Thus, my point is proven: be yourself professionally. Be honest about your feelings. I thought that any employer or potential employer who saw this blog would instantly assume I was some sort of escape artist who hated employment, didn’t want to work and was living in a fantasy world. Boy, was I wrong!
This goes back to my post about lying to yourself on your resume. If you are not authentic with yourself (and others) about the kind of work you are seeking, your professional life will suffer. I was actually more of a dishonest, lying, employment-hating escape-artist who lived in a fantasy world in my previous job. The one I hated. The one I lied to myself (and on my resume) to get.
Think about it.
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Mars Dorian April 7, 2010 at 6:19 pm
Being authentic is your only option you got – speaking the truth not only liberates but also
shows your human side. Most people are afraid to do that, and that’s why it’s easier to shine.
I love that:
I felt like I had just set my own child down in a gorilla cage with a banana tied to the top of his head.
I couldn’t suppress a smile when I read that. This line should be mine 😉
Mike April 8, 2010 at 4:05 pm
It’s funny, now when I read this article it seems like such common sense to me (to show this site to my future employer) because it’s become such a part of who I am professionally, but at the time I didn’t see it that way – I saw it as a potential liability, which is a position one should probably never be in. I’m very proud of this site now!