Being your Authentic Self in the workplace

I assume that we all know how it is when you’re trying to get a job... you try hard to be the person you think the company wants you to be, to answer the interview questions the way you think they would have you to answer them, and even dress the way you think they would want you to dress. Although these things are great to keep in mind, I have found immense joy in showing up as my authentic self at work and even in the process of interviewing. For instance, as a journalist, the job market is very competitive, because of this competitive field a potential journalist would make a much more lasting effect on their potential employer if they show up as their authentic self and stand out from others. By this I mean owning who you are, not shrinking yourself or your opinions, and most of all being your full self. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying wear flip flops and pajamas to your interview because you like being comfortable, I’m just saying be yourself and watch how your personality and your gift makes room for you. Quick story: This summer I accepted an internship with a huge mortgage company as a writer for their blog. I remember when I was in the process of getting hired having to turn in writing samples. I write a lot of different types of content, sometimes my content is spiritual, sometimes it’s informative, sometimes it’s extremely political and opinionated and that was what I was most afraid of. I questioned turning in my Ahmaud Arbery and Sean Reed piece, I contemplated what they would think about my writing/opinion on the events at the capitol earlier this year, or how this particular company would see my thoughts on other political and culturally sensitive topics. I began to think about how I wanted to be viewed by my potential employers, and I took a big leap of faith. I turned in all of my seemingly “risky” writing and I did not look back once. I told myself, if a company wants to hire me, they should appreciate all of me and they should hire me based on my ability, personality, and overall skill. And that’s exactly what happened. My employers viewed my blog and all of the articles I had written from the regular informative ones, to the highly opinionated articles on political, social, and even cultural issues and they loved every bit of it. Turns out some of those same articles I was afraid to turn in were the very ones the writing team told me was their favorite. I remember in my interview talking to them about the fact that I go to the 1st public HBCU in Georgia and how I aspire to make a meaningful change in the Black community as a Black woman journalist. They loved my drive and ambition, and the fact that I was being myself and that I was not afraid of doing so. They noticed that I was great at what I did but they also saw that I had all of the character traits of someone who would work well on their team. Someone who was confident and bold, yet professional and organized all at the same time. About a week later I got the call that the interview went extremely well and that I was hired. They quickly adopted me as a part of their team. I was so happy because I felt good knowing that I didn’t have to pretend to be someone I’m not with my employers and as a result it gave me the confidence I need to move forward even in other aspects of my life. Again, I’m not saying to go to job interviews or to your place of work and get extremely relaxed and do things you know may get you into some trouble. What works for me at my job may not work for yours. Don’t get fired LOL! Just be wise about things of course and be true to yourself. Be unapologetic about who you are and what you stand for in all aspects of your life. It will help you and you will feel so confident doing so.

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