5 ways to be more YOU at work: Why being yourself is the greatest asset to your company and your happiness.
Monday morning, 9 AM. You take a sip of your morning joe and crack open your inbox, ready to tackle the day when… you see it. Yet another email that sounds like a robot regurgitated a top-five list after Googling best email practices. And hey, you get it. Sometimes it’s hard not to communicate that way at work. We were told to follow the formula that works, the one that sounds “professional.”
We all have a “work version” of ourselves. A 4.0 model who sits up straight at meetings and politely asks about weekends at the water cooler like it’s part of the job. And while it is kind of part of the job, that doesn’t mean that you have to keep the true you hidden beneath your button-up. But it can be hard to confidently let your personality shine through. What if people feel that it’s too much? That you’re too much? What if your corporate environment just can’t handle the true you — whether we’re talking about your canary yellow Doc Martens or your refreshingly honest opinions.
While yes, it makes sense to start off a bit on the cautious side and feel out the company vibe, it’s important not to mistake professionalism for lack of individualism. If the company wanted robots, they’re now pretty easily available for hire. They hired YOU.
So here are five ways to be more YOU at work. Because, c’mon! You are who they hired, after all.
- Your internal emails don’t have to sound like they’re straight out of an MLA handbook. Yes, while “best” and “please advise” have their place, remember that a human is on the other end of the line. You don’t have to sound like an etiquette robot.
- You don’t have to shop at J. Crew (unless that’s your jam). Nothing against J. Crew, really. But let’s face it, trousers and a crisp button up simply aren’t everyone’s style. If you’re lucky enough to work in an environment that doesn’t have a strict dress code policy, don’t feel like you have to match your Dad’s level of three-piece suit swagger just to go into the office. It’s ok to rock your favorite outfit, as long as it’s appropriate (obviously). If you don’t have the luxury of a more lax dress code policy, accessories are a fun way to still feel like yourself in your workspace.
- Opinions are okay. You were hired for your beautiful brain, so don’t be afraid to use it! Obviously, proceed with caution when throwing around your opinions when they’re not asked for. Always remember that your thoughts are valued and you shouldn’t be afraid to speak up.
- You don’t have to lie about your weekend plans (but you don’t have to tell anyone either). What you do OOO isn’t anyone’s business. However, don’t be afraid to share what gets you excited. You might just find someone in the office who loves the band that plays at your local bar each Friday just as much as you do, or a coworker who needs a point guard for their rec basketball team. Work is a great place to make new friends.
- Don’t let work stress take over. Breathe in, breathe out. Feel better? Yes, work can be stressful, but you are the master of your domain. You control the stress, even if it doesn’t feel that way. Creating a routine that helps wash away the stress is key–whether it’s starting your day with journaling, enjoying some yoga, or penciling in a daily 2 PM dance party, do what makes you smile. A smiling you is a you that has more to offer yourself, your company, and the world.
So the next time you walk into the office, remember that being yourself is the greatest asset to your company, your success, and your happiness.
Allie Demopoulos is a Content Copywriter at Surprise.com. A writer and producer, she believes that humor is the greatest tool and that the best of anything–comedy, music, stories–are experienced in basements. When she’s not creating, you can find her in the electric streets of Manhattan, a place she feels lucky to call home.