Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Workplace Chameleon

I've always been the type of person who likes to compartmentalize my life. Many years ago my work life, my personal life, my friends, and even my hobbies seemed to all be intertwined. Over the years though I've grown to compartmentalize each of these aspects of myself.

I work my ass off all day long and I tend to not want to hang around with any of the same people who I see all day long. In the past, I've been stabbed in the back by people who I once trusted in the workplace context, so I'd prefer that people know as little about me as they need to know. I prefer to keep my relationship with my boyfriend and my outside-of-work friends and things that I do pretty top secret from people who I work with. I bust my ass off all day long and I just want to come home and have my own little sanctuary away from work.

I'm sort of like a chameleon, with the masks I slip on and off changing according to the situation I am in. I'm one person when I am at work. I'm a completely other person when I am outside of my typical workplace and am working on consulting gigs. I'm at my purest sense of self when I am online and with some of my closest friends. But underneath it all I am sort of really the same person, morphing and playing different roles in various contexts.

Take the workplace context. I want to curse all day long, insult people, shout out that they are a jackass. I'm thinking all of this delightful stuff, of course, and yet I can't just run around and act in such a manner because it would scare the shit out of some of the timid types of people who I am supposed to be leading.

So I walk around, wear a mask, and try to play somewhat *normal*. If that makes any sense. I mean, I try not to scare the shit out of people and intimidate them. I try not to stare at people too hard with a poker face, try not to speak in too "direct" of a manner where it makes half of the employees shake in their fucking boots. I try not to be too dominant, too assertive or too aggressive. It's like being on a fucking stage all day long.

Deep down inside though, they all know that I am just going through the motions and I'm not showing them all my cards. In fact, you should hear the rumors that swirl around about me. I'm larger than life. I'm always shocked when I hear the latest rumor, or the latest thing that I've supposedly done or said. As I sit here writing this blog, I'm chuckling to myself at some of the silly teachers on facebook with open profiles who are writing complete nonsense about me. They're grasping at straws, really.

Ahh, social media! Thanks, ladies, for fueling my imagination and giving me a few new masks to wear at work the next time I see you. Or maybe I'll choose a persona that's completely opposite of what you think about me.

I'm going to have tons of fun with this over the next few days.

Connoisseurs of the 48 Laws of Power might immediately recognize a few of the laws of power, no? If you are unfamiliar with the laws, rest assured that we'll talk more about how women can use them to their advantage at a later time. Another book that's been helpful in refining the masks that you might wear is The Corporate Dominatrix: Six Roles to Play to Get Your Way at Work.

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