Back Off! (and other ways to say "don't hire me") By Dwayne Castle
Maybe you remember Yosemite Sam from his exploits in dealing with that "varmint" Bugs Bunny on Saturday mornings. I like the occasional reminders of him from the mud-flaps of trucks, warning me to maintain a safe distance by telling me to “Back Off!” as he points his cartoon pistols in my general direction. Have you ever seen a stuffed Yosemite Sam pillow? In plush form, his rough looking exterior is just begging to be picked up held close.
A few weeks ago I was at an area event and I saw a lady, dressed in a black t-shirt that read “That’s right, I’m a B….” I won't print that last word out, but it rhymes with Abercrombie & Fitch. It was printed in big letters and she carried herself with a purpose which seemed to dare others to let her prove the accuracy of that statement.
Perhaps, like the Yosemite Sam pillow, she is, in reality, a warm and inviting individual but with a rough looking exterior. It makes me wonder which one is the “real” her; the “prickly, stay away from me” woman or maybe one that smiles at customers and says “Thank you for shopping. Have a nice day.”
Maybe she has a job or maybe she has difficulty finding one. Possibly she would be the kind of co-worker that people love to have on the team because she is not only hard working but funny and inclusive of others.
I couldn’t help but wonder if she puts off that "stay away" vibe everywhere and if she does, how well do others, including potential employers, co-workers, or customers enjoy being around her. I wonder how well she enjoys being around herself. You can't escape you.
To me, who you are is who you are and it’s much easier to be that same person all the time than it is to have to remember which personality you are going to wear today, or for the next 8 hours, or in the next few moments. I don't believe you can effectively pretend to be someone you aren't for any real length of time. Sooner or later the mask will fall off and the real you will come out.
I was speaking with a professional whose awesome mission is to help remove barriers for individuals attempting to escape poverty through meaningful employment. She directs a wonderful organization and they use a phrase with their clients- “what’s your brand?” I love that phrase and I’m going to ask if she minds if I adopt it myself. The basic meaning of the phrase is this: how are you known?
How do you want to be known when it comes to future employers or potential clients, or even possible friends? If they were to scroll your Facebook page, which they often do, what of your character would they see?
Would what they see, be an accurate representation of your true self? Would they see a person that is warm, caring, and inviting or one whose words and demeanor make clear that others had better “Back Off!"?
From your public persona- that is, your activities and conversations, would people think it likely for you to be a positive representation of their brand? Would the image you portray away from work be one with whom others would want to invest their time, effort, and resources?
Wherever we are and whatever we are doing, let’s be the best us we can be. If we are to truly succeed in any area of life, we must be that person of character, always. It is a 24/7 venture, not one that we can just pretend for blocks of time.