A while back someone (I'm sorry I don't remember who!) asked me if I'd revisit some old posts. Since it came up last week, I thought now was a good time to jump in my wayback machine and reconsider "Free to Be... You and Me," a post all about letting my nerd flag fly.
A few key points from that original post, for those of you who don't remember it and/or don't have time to read more than one blog post right now:
- I am a nerd of the first water. Played Dungeons & Dragons in the early 80s. Owned a ColecoVision. Doctor Who. Ad infinitum.
- I used to try to hide that fact.
- I stopped hiding that fact, and started being myself.
- Hilarity, and better connections with members of my community, ensued.
- I think everyone should do the same.
Flash forward two jobs and almost exactly 6 years, and I still feel like bringing myself - my whole self - to work is one of the best professional decisions I've ever made. I'm still a big ol' nerd, even though my current nerdy obsessions are "Lost Girl" and the Eric Carter series and hunting through thrift stores to find choice vinyl.
But being myself in my professional life is still working the same magic. You see, I have a Guster poster up in my office. They're my favorite band, after all. And when the union president stopped by my office to discuss the benefits of joining, he remarked on it. Turns out he loves Guster, too. So in between discussing the form and the money parts of joining our union, we gushed about the times we've seen our favorite band perform live. It was an unexpected bonus that made what could have been a stilted conversation go smoothly.
All of this isn't to say that I think everyone should be a nerd, or be like me. I'm just saying you should be your whole self at work if possible. Wear your Peggy Carter inspired jewelry. Listen to Ukrainian folk on your headphones or in your office. Put that picture of your pet ball python up in your work space. Make the dumb joke that gets people to laugh. Being yourself will help other people be real with you, too.