Professions or jobs come with a set of standards, behaviors, legal requirements, and values. Some of these elements are a definitive and necessary element of a profession, such as an attorney’s code of ethics. Other are based on tradition or culture and thus customary, such as a banking executive’s dress code. Some are based on business practices, such as a first-year consultant’s 80-hour work week schedule at a Major Consulting Firm. And so forth and in unending combinations.
To the extent that the core of “who you are” does not align and agree with your profession or job, you put on and maintain a “mask” of appearance and behavior to perform you job. To wear a $2,000 suit and $500 shoes when you’d rather donate to charity. To isolate from former colleagues when you’d rather join them for drinks after work. To go along with an entrenched unfair promotion practice when you know the other candidate is better qualified. To fight for a specified outcome when you’d rather negotiate for a mutual agreement. To let a joke slide by in fear of exposing your personal characteristics or beliefs, who you really are. It’s exhausting, draining.
To the extent that the core of “who you are” *does* align and agree with your profession or job, you can let go of having a “mask” to perform your job. You simply show up as yourself, authentic. It’s energizing.
Very few people have a profession or job which is a “perfect” fit, for all time, so everyone has some sort of mask. The point is to know there is a mask, and why it’s there.
How well is the mask you wear to work serving you?