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Signs You’re Not Being Authentic At Work

Signs You’re Not Being Authentic At Work

Violating your core values. Feeling like an impostor. Not standing up for your rights. These are indications that you aren’t being true to yourself.

“Authenticity is my life.”
Selena Gomez, internationally famous singer

Go ahead, show off that new tattoo. Or display the picture of your same-sex partner on your desk. Stop faking that you’re outgoing. Request accommodation for your hidden disability. 

Being true to yourself has a lot to do with knowing who you are and bringing that uniqueness to the workplace. It’s liberating to express your personality, values and background without pretending to be someone you aren’t.

Do you find yourself minimizing (or concealing) aspects of yourself you worry will make you a target for discrimination? Are you acting in ways that conflict with your natural tendencies? Know some common signs that you’re stifling the real you, and take steps to restore genuineness.

Going Against Your Deeply Held Values

Values are the core principles on which you base your conduct. They include your beliefs, morals, and guiding philosophies.

Signs Of Being Inauthentic

  • Normally being honest and ethical are important you. But you find yourself fudging the truth, cheating, taking short cuts, or deliberately undermining colleagues.
  • You pride yourself on devotion to family and loved ones; except you’re working far too much and letting these crucial relationships slip.

Possible Solutions

If your behaviours are out of sync with your values, take some time to reflect on why that is. Ask yourself if there are things you can change to be more in line with your principles. See if you can come up with ways to achieve similar results without violating your core tenets.  

Not Standing Up For Your Rights

There are times when you feel you’re being taken advantage of. In other situations it seems you’re being treated unfairly or abusively.

Signs Of Being Inauthentic

  • You have a good measure of self-worth, however you’re tolerating being harassed or bullied because you’re worried about repercussions if you complain.
  • Employers have a legal obligation to reasonably accommodate your religious holidays, yet you continue to work on your Sabbath though this interferes with your spiritual commitment.

Possible Solutions

Knowing your employment rights is essential if you plan to assert them. If unsure about privileges and obligations, consult the employee handbook. For circumstances where your rights are being violated, reach out for inexpensive legal advice.

Acting Like Someone You Aren’t

Do you sometimes feel like you’re a certain type of person when not at work, but a very different one at your place of employment? It can be stressful to represent yourself as someone you aren’t in order to fit in.

Signs Of Being Inauthentic

  • During business hours you’re very outgoing and social, despite the fact it exhausts you (because normally you’re quiet and reserved, preferring your own company).
  • Your natural pace is slow and deliberate.  At work you’re constantly speeding through assignments, multi-tasking distractedly, not enjoying the process.
  • Being an LGBTI person is an integral part of your identity, though you try to conceal this side of you on the job.

Possible Solutions

Determine what’s pushing you to behave counter to your natural self. Maybe your current role or employer is misaligned with your innate preferences. Or you’re afraid that just being you will harm your career prospects. Why not try to gradually introduce more of who you actually are. Start cautiously, gauge reactions, and proceed from there. It you aren’t accepted while being yourself, you may need to find employment somewhere more suitable. 

Additional Signs To Watch For

There are many pressures to conform in the work world: financial obligations, societal norms, and familial expectations. These can lead people to “sell themselves out.” By giving up their dreams. Working in an industry that contradicts their values. Settling for less than they deserve.

Pushing back starts with knowing who you are. Create or review your personal mission statement and overarching goals. Understand your personality and essential needs. Decide on how far you’re willing to compromise. Being more authentic at work (without oversharing) is achievable with some planned and directed effort.


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