No, darling, I’m not perfect. Far from it.
Certain strengths and skill sets are valued in a social setting and the professional regime. I’ve been through copious amounts of training courses and development workshops so I can reinforce those strengths I already possess and perhaps acquire those that I don’t but are considered vital to become umm, an effective leader, a manager, a salesperson, a respected executive, outgoing networker etc.
In doing so, I intentionally suppress those traits that are according to the rest of the world, less desirable. In fact, in these classes, they also tell us what behaviour to avoid to prevent eliciting the responses we do not want from others.
I sow and I harvest – a good reputation is hard to come by but I achieved just that in the workplace. I’m trusted and respected. I’m friendly. I’m easy to approach. I’m opened to communication as a manager. I’m firm. I’m helpful. I’m efficient and effective (never understood really what those jargons mean). I have been blessed as well and made very good friends wherever I lived, I was “nice”, I was generous, I was fun.
So I cannot lament.
But please grant me the exceptional extravagance – because it is tiring to keep up an image all the time, not to say that I’m not really such a person, but then again, I have my bad days.
I cannot resist strangling some people in Ops because of the foolish rigidity in carrying out procedures – but I grit my teeth, ask politely and persistently, for months some times, and get a simple straightforward logical thing done eventually in the most complicated convoluted senior-management-approved-dispensation way. So patient my boss says, I smile and nod, relieved that all was resolved. But inside I was ablaze with fury. I’m the least patient person in this world if I may. If I could, I would have told those colleagues how stupid they were and made it an order to do what I say—then and there. No, I kept up the smiles and reasoned with them. I even said “please” and “thank you” and “appreciate your understanding” so many times. Was it fake? Or was it purely “professional” because I didn’t lose my temper? Well, I got the work done I guess…
And really, I am so fed up with some people in my social circle. I cannot deal with someone complaining about every single petty aspect of their lives every time we meet: “hi how are you?” “Oh work is bad, men are worse, and colleagues are sh!t, and this and that” “Oh I’m sorry to hear that, maybe try X and it will get better, can I help?” “No, nothing can change, I can’t take holiday because its busy at work but I’m so tired” “Why can’t you take holiday? “I just can’t” “Well, um…” Polite smile – and all I wanted to do was to get out of the situation or slam the phone down. I cringed at subsequent phone calls but I picked up anyways, to be a nice and caring friend.
Why do we keep up images for the world? Life is a stage said some famous writer, perhaps Oscar Wilde or George Bernard Shaw, or maybe was it Shakespeare… and we are all actors on it. So we pretend, we dress up, we make up, we try to be everybody else – but ourselves. And what’s the point of that?
So guess what, I’m a whinger. I am not so easygoing, tough luck. I will whinge.
I’m not perfect. You’re not either.
But at least we can be who we really are.
Be real to yourself.