Peeling back the layers…

It’s been a while. I’ve been remiss. I’ve not been avoiding you. Honest.  Does it help if I tell you that I missed you? It’s like this; moving house, being mentally busy at work, training like a trooper and generally getting consumed by too many random things have taken their toll.  Anyway, hello. It would appear that I’m back on Planet Blog.

I’ve written before about being told that I am scary. For the record: I’m not. I’m quite straight forward, organised, efficient, and focussed. I don’t beat around the bush. I make decisions. Sometimes they are wrong, but the majority of the time they are right, however I’d rather make them than not. I’ve got a reputation for getting the job done. Some people perceive that as scary. But I think that is because it’s at odds with the way that they conduct themselves at work. I have to say this; that is very much my *at work* persona. It’s always stood me in good stead, therefore it continues. Outside of work I’m different. Very different. A little more human, fallible, imperfect etc. (People that know me will at this point be nodding, rolling their eyes and grinning to themselves…)

Anyway back to the matter at hand; it’s not the first time that I’ve had that *comment* levelled at me… In the 90s I worked for a Publishing House and every couple of months we would get a batch of new recruits; all very young and wet behind the ears etc. One evening gathered in the local boozer, and I’d done the rounds chatting to the new recruits and I ended up on the receiving end of the following comment; “Gosh you’re really nice. You terrify me when you’re in the office…” Ermm. Right. Thanks for that…

In my first job I worked alongside someone – a girl natch – who I held in high esteem. She told me (nay – brain washed me) on numerous occasions that in order to get on you could never afford to be seen as weak. That when you walked into the office you had to “swipe in, and put your mask on”. You had to be bombastic . You had to be robust. You had to be impervious.

I’d forgotten about that till recently.  It was only when I was on the receiving end of another one of *those* comments that I gave it a bit more brain power. If you’re interested it was, “You’re really good fun to hang out with outside of the office…” Nice.

I cogitated for a few days on the whole matter. Was it an insult or a back handed compliment? I stared a lot at my belly button fluff etc whilst I thought it through. What was with the mask? Why were the people at work not getting more of the real Mel? Would it be better if they did get a piece of that person? Should I combine the good qualities of the Mel at work (AW) and the Mel outside of work (OOW)?

I need to say something here: I don’t go to work to make friends. I have enough friends already. And they are high quality friends. However you can’t not make friends at work. The thing to remember is that you don’t need to be friends with everyone. There will be people that you get on with, instantly click with etc. that you do want to hang out with outside work. And then there will be the others; the people that you can work alongside during 9 – 5.30pm and then at that point thanks, but no thanks.

So the obvious solution was to combine the strengths of the Mel (OOW) into my working day – to make me a little more *human*– with the skills in the Mel (AW) that I know have helped me to get to where I am today.

This little epiphany moment was a couple of weeks back so it’s all a bit work in progress right now. But I can honestly say that I’m feeling happier at work than I have done in, well, forever… Despite my horrendous workload, which shows no sign of quitting any time soon, I know that I’m getting a more positive response from the people around me.

Overcoming weaknesses (aka being perfect) is a drain on your energy. Surely you’d be best placed to focus on your talents, and what makes you passionate, and leave the stuff you’re not so good at to the people that are?

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