Do you have a different personality at work than you have when you are at home? Would your work colleagues fail to recognize you on weekends? I don’t simply mean what you wear or a lack of make-up, but are you nicer, more fun, calmer, or more energetic on Saturdays and Sundays? If so, why can’t you carry those positive weekend personality traits over into the work week?
What causes you to transform from the real you to the work you, to slip into your work persona, every Monday? Is it what’s expected, or is it due to work stress, lack of job satisfaction, conflict with coworkers or your boss, or difficulty managing both work and family commitments? Or is there simply a lack-of-fit between you and your job?
Is the personality shifting something you do easily—sort of like “game face on”—or do you dread it, feeling like you can’t be authentic, or that your life lacks integration? Does keeping up a certain facade take more energy than you wish? Do you always feel “on guard,” or do you feel drained at the end of each day? Does the five day stretch between weekends seem endless?
If any of the above sound familiar, it may be time for a work personality tune-up. Start by making a list of what you need to change—being more organized, being less perfectionistic, working on your teamwork skills, developing a thicker skin, having an honest discussion with your boss about work expectations, changing your schedule, or reducing the number of your non-work activities, especially those you no longer find useful or desirable.
Can you find ways to make work more bearable, even enjoyable? Is it possible to work from home one or more days each week? Can you cut back on company travel, or stop volunteering for some non-essential work assignments? Can you stop looking at texts and emails related to your job after you get home? Can you use your vacation time more effectively, perhaps tacking a vacation day on to a weekend every now and then so you get a bit of extended time away from work?
For years, employment experts and others have talked about the need for work-life balance, but we now know that balance doesn’t go quite far enough. What the millennial workforce is seeking is work-life integration. They want a workplace where they can be authentic, where their personality doesn’t have to shape shift every Monday.
If you are still miserable and tense after taking some actions and trying for several months to bring about positive change at work, it may be time to consider shifting workplaces or even career paths. Life is simply too short to hate going to work each day, or going to work and pretending you are someone you are not.