It’s interesting that we often refer to our jobs as “roles”. I don’t think this choice of word is accidental.
What is a role? The word itself implies an adopted, temporary way of being.
It is something that an actor plays out. However, the same actor doesn’t view his job of acting as a role. Acting is what he does. An actor is who he is.
Same goes for other artists.
Have you ever heard a musician say “I just got the role of a drummer”?
Is it my imagination, or is there something in artists’ work culture which encourages authentic self-expression, and something in the corporate culture which encourages its suppression?
This trend can be noticed long before we begin in our new roles. As part of preparing for the interview process, we are encouraged to learn the “right” answers. Not, however, necessarily our own answers.
Sure, a degree of shrewdness, discretion and savvyness in conversations is important, but there’s a fine line between those and the actions of hiding, pretending and forging an inauthentic front (which we’re then stuck behind).
We buy into this game believing that we stand something to gain.
But at what cost?
- If you’re applying for a job and you notice that you dread the question, “why are you applying for a job with our company”, because you feel like you have to fabricate an answer, stop.
- If you’re applying for a job and you know you’ll need to answer the question, “so, what do you know about our company?”, but you know that you intrinsically couldn’t care less about their cause, stop.
There has to be a degree of real connection between what you stand for as a human being and what the company wants to achieve by creating a job for you.
If that’s missing, you’ll have to pretend, and that will make your life there less productive and fulfilling than it needs to be.
Life is too short to spend it pretending.