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Career Corner: Sign It’s Time to Look for a New Job – You become someone else at work

Another sign that it’s time to look for a new job is: You become “someone else” at work.

If you feel like you can’t be yourself at work and have become a “pretender,” don’t shrug it off — and don’t blame yourself. Every company’s culture is different. Yours may not be aligned with who you are as a person. Know there are professional people out there who embrace the same goals and values as you do. Maybe it’s time to seek them out.

What’s the difference between stepping into your “role as employee” and “becoming someone else at work”? Many of us behave differently at work than we do at home. I think that’s natural; we have a work persona and a personal persona. (Not everyone is like this but the majority of people are.) At home we feel more comfortable and free to be who we really are. There’s a difference between this and feeling like you don’t fit in at work – like you don’t share the company’s values, you don’t fit in with your co-workers or you feel like you have to make an effort to be someone else at work and it’s exhausting.

One way I knew a previous job was not a fit for me is I had to try hard to be on top of my game all the time in a high-pressured environment. I don’t function very well under pressure and I felt like I was pretending to be someone I wasn’t. After 2 years there I became burned out, and even started to get physically sick. I started getting the flu more frequently and even ended up having minor surgery. All of this I believe was due in part to a stressful job that wasn’t a fit. Now I only get sick once a year if that! So which is it for you – are you simply stepping into your work persona when you go to the office, or are you becoming someone else completely at work?

I hope this is helpful, Hallie

Career Development Coach Hallie Crawford