Be a professional not authentic.
We all have off days. Days when we don’t feel like it. Days when you do the minimum required to get through the day. Or our work is a bit shoddy but we’re ok with that. We’re told to be our true selves. To be authentic.
However, we want the ability to be authentic, but we don’t want others to be. Flipping the script illustrates the point.
What’s our response when sitting in the hairdresser’s chair (remember them?) and they tell you about the ‘off day’ they are having? Or when you are looking for something in a shop and ask an employee, how we would we feel if they told us to ‘find it yourself, I don’t like people like you? Or a doctor, a nurse, a surgeon tells you how they’re bored, don’t like their job, or don’t really want to be at work?
Most of us would figure out a way to leave or at least feel uncomfortable. We’d likely not go back.
In many ways, professionalism is the opposite of authentic. Being a professional requires us to behave in a certain way even if it is not ‘authentic’ to how we are feeling in the moment. We seek out professional hairdressers, doctors, and shops, we don’t want authentic ones.
You can be a professional in any line of work – charity worker, digital transformation worker, or chief household engineer. It’s a choice. And hopefully for you most days you can be authentic and a professional.
Oh and just to be clear, being a professional has no correlation with being paid for the work you do.