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My Work Self

This week starts my series on the multitude of “selves” or “voices” that create an individual.  In my original post on journaling I wrote:
There seem to be multiple parts to the self. One might even say that “I” is made up of multiple selves.  Think about the “voices” that speak in your head.  A few of the selves that I can label in my head are:
– my work self
– my wife self
– the God within me
– my perfectionism self
– my friend self
– my school self
– my pessimistic self

I’m excited about this series because I’m looking forward to those comments that you will leave where you explain to me how you can relate to each “self”.  However, I’m also looking forward to those comments where you may say something like “I can related to this ‘self,’ but it is a different aspect of my life that tells me that” or “for better or worse, none of my voices ever say something like that.”  I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

So let’s get started:  this week, I am talking about my work self.

Here’s how I would describe my work “self”:

– Controlling
– Unemotional
– Strict about high standards
– Highly structured

I don’t consider myself a “control freak”, but at work, I’ve had to recognize and own that I may have “control issues”.  This is connected to the label “strict about high standards”.

The positives about these aspects of my work self is that I take pride in the work that I do and I do quality work.  If I’m given a task, I will complete that task well, quickly, and I will probably complete any tangental tasks that I saw were needed.

On the other hand, when I hear people in my office or on any job saying something that is inaccurate or doing something that he/she shouldn’t do on the job, my whole body cringes.  I’ve been told that I do not have a poker face, which means that as a manager, I have to be super careful about not overly forcing my “work self” on my coworkers.

I say my work self is highly structured because my work self likes to know exactly when I have to be at work and when I can go home.  It likes to know exactly what I am supposed to do, what my coworkers are supposed to do, what my clients can do, etc.  Think severe type A personality.

Combine the expectations of the above 2 paragraphs with the word unemotional and you can probably see how I often set myself up to be frustrated at work.  When a mistake is made (and it can be the smallest of mistakes) and I want to be upset about it (which the controlling and high standards aspects of my work self would say is perfectly understandable), the unemotional aspect tells me that I shouldn’t be upset.  The voice in my head at work is constantly saying “perfection is not necessary” or “don’t be upset about that mistake”.

While I appreciate the balancing aspect of the “unemotional” aspect of my work self, it can also be stifling as I am an emotional person.

When I’m journaling and I see a lot of themes around perfection – I can know that my work self is probably involved somehow.

How would you describe your “work self”?

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