In any personal relationship, it’s all hot and passionate at the beginning for a while, but then as most often happens at some point in time things evolve, settling into a routine where people sink into their comfort zones and back to their true selves. And this is when you hear things such as, “I remember when you used to at least try…” or “You used to buy me flowers…”
I often compare work environments and situations with our personal lives because I can get my messages across more easily. Another primary reason is that most of us spend as much time at work with our employers and co-workers as we do with our families. Some of us spend more time away from home working than they do at home, so my correlation of the two is not so strange then, is it?
In the beginning of a relationship we put on our best face, make our best efforts because we really want to win over and get the other side to like us and want us. We do the same thing when we are pursuing and interviewing for a job. Some people will do whatever it takes to succeed, sometimes going way overboard. Then, after they reach their goal, as time passes people slip back into their true self. It is the same at work as in any relationship and while most of the time there isn’t a remarkably big difference, in a few instances it’s like night and day.
I’ve spoken on more than a few different occasions during my career with hiring managers who’ve related scary stories about someone they hired a couple months earlier, who just wasn’t working out. They claimed all was fine the first few weeks and then it was like a completely different person showed up for work one day. I’ve also spoken with employees who told me their boss, who welcomed them to the company, suddenly took on a whole different persona, as if there had been an invasion of the body snatchers or such. I find most of these issues originate from the interview process.
Rather than to trust they will be appealing as they are, there is an attempt in the minds of some to try to be not who they are, but instead the kind of person they think the company wants to see. So they morph into someone else to suit the situation. Bosses might do something similar if there is a great employee they want to hire, thus putting on an even better, albeit it false, best face. But the way things are during the honeymoon period (at work) are not always the way things stay and no one can fake it forever. The result is someone ends up feeling misled.
So to wrap up my point, when you interview, indeed, show your best face and put your best foot forward; do not try to be someone you’re not because inevitably you just can’t keep up that game forever and you’ll be miserable. I contend that if you are going to be damned, be damned for who you are, rather than someone you are not. If your best is not good enough for them, find another company and manager who values you for who you are and what you bring to the professional relationship. That honeymoon period is the best it’s going to be, so what happens when ardor cools and routine sets in; are you in it and committed for the duration?
In our professional lives, as in our personal lives, we seek to minimize unnecessary drama and especially that which is self-inflicted. When you interview, present yourself in the best possible manner, of course, just make sure it’s really you.
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