As the founder and CEO of career.place, I introduce myself a lot. It's not just my name and position anymore - people want to know more, a lot more – they want to know my background, my personality, pretty much my complete history; do I have knowledge, intelligence, drive, chutzpah - you name it, they want to know about it.
And so sparked the debate – how me should I be?
Everyone has a professional personality vs. a private personality. You are not going to respond to a co-worker the way you do to a spouse, tell a story to your colleagues the way you would to your parents or close friends, and you will not address a personnel challenge at work the same way you do a challenge with your kids.
We all have this challenge – when introducing ourselves professionally, applying for a job, networking at an event; what me should we be?
I have received a plethora of advice on the subject (not all solicited). From executive coaches to well-read ‘influencers’ or to my mother, everyone has an opinion.
“Be polished and professional; you must work hard to show you are a strong leader [because I am a woman].”
“You need a stylist to create ‘the look’ and for the love of g*d, dye your hair, women leaders cannot have gray!”
“Show that you are a real person, you are a mother and wife with a real life.”
“Leave your kids out of it; otherwise it will look like you are using them as a tool for your success or that you are distracted by family rather than focusing on the company.”
“Do not talk about what you thought of the last Star Wars movie, it will not resonate with your audience and it will make you sound … [colorful language used that basically means nerdy].”
“Absolutely talk about the last Star Wars movie, it shows your personality.”
“Include that you have a degree in engineering, it shows you are smart.”
“Don’t talk about your education, it makes you sound young and inexperienced.”
“Show your personality, it will make you genuine and approachable.”
“Show a personality… let me design one for you.”
… and it goes on and on and on.
As the founder of a company with a mission to remove biases, it seems I am getting a lot of advice on how to avoid triggering biases from others. Honestly, I only know how to be me, so I am going to stick with that – grey hair and all.
What ‘me’ have you felt compelled to be to avoid biases?