Office Me, Myself, and I

In his blog entry Multi-personality Disorder, Nick Burton talks about how the way someone portrays themselves can be so different across different media. I agree on this point. But this is not a new phenomenon.

I think people have always acted quite differently amongst different sets of people: family, friends, or spouse. But more profoundly is how different people are at home versus work. You wouldn’t know it from mine or my wife’s hours in our respective offices, but at home we curse like sailors. At home I tend to obsessively talk about films, television shows, comics, books and videogames, but at work I try to stick to business with only the occasional geeky aside.

During a typical weekend get together, between hours watching DVDs and playing games, my friends and I get into these speculative conversations that are borderline philosophical. At work, it isn’t polite to talk about religion or politics or the nature or existence. If people acted like themselves at work, there would be a higher unemployment rate. It would be nice, though, if everyone found a company where they do not act so differently from their intimate personas.

What are some of your personality traits that are not often displayed at work? Could you ever imagine finding a job where such behavior could be accepted?