Saturday, May 19, 2007

Masks

The idea of the psychological mask is an interesting one. The only time I intentionally don a mask is when I'm on stage. I've hidden behind a character in amateur dramatics and I find it much easier to perform poetry in front of an audience if I can hide behind a mask to some extent. Having said that though, my on stage poetic persona is basically an exagerated version of my real persona. Well my persona when I'm not at work. I've never intentionally donned a mask for work I find I have one. This was driven home to me when a colleague said he didn't think that I watched the Simpsons 'unless you have a secret side we don't know about'. I'm a very private person at work and this means there are lots of things my work colleagues don't know about me - watching the Simpsons is the least of it! I've ended up with a smartly dressed, professional persona that most of my colleagues take at face value and I think they would mostly be shocked or at least very surprised if they found out I go clubbing for example! I like to have a professional persona, particularly now I'm a manager, but sometimes I wish I could be a little more 'me' at work.

Mask for Sunday Scribblings

32 comments:

Rose Dewy Knickers said...

Hi Crafty. I completely understand the mask at work bit. It's funny, because everyone at Brian's work knows he's a bit off, and that he talks to himself. I think they would flip if they knew he was talking to others, LOL

Perhaps you could wear something, like a piece of jewelry that would be more *you* and would be meaningful.

Just a thought. :)

Rose

xo

paris parfait said...

I wonder what life would be like if no one wore a mask of any kind? Probably it would all be too much for us to bear! All that in-your-face truth constantly bombarding us, without magic or illusion.

Ally Bean said...

Interesting how you know who you are and then don your work mask. That seems good to me. Too many people haven't a clue who they are, and then assume that their work persona/mask is the real person.

Interesting take on the prompt.

Rob Kistner said...

Juliet -

Enjoyed reading your post. There is much honesty.

I have a friendly challenge for you. Next time you're at work, drop the mask -- see what happens.

I realize this would be a journey into the "don't know what you don't know" region of the psyche. A bit scary, but it might be fascinating what you find there -- or not.

Good post. :)

Regina Clare Jane said...

I wonder of that's the reason we have "casual Friday's" here in the States... people can let down their hair a little- or drop their masks a little, as it were...

Crafty Green Poet said...

Rose, interesting point about the jewellery - I always wear two silver rings, one with dolphins, one with a cats face, very me. I suspect people don't notice.

Rob - interesting challenge, I think to be totally honest that in my current job, perhaps I don't feel like dropping the mask with the people I work with. In previous jobs, i have had less of a mask.

Regina - we have casual Fridays here too, or at least the big companies do. I work for a small charity, and usually don't work Fridays.

Ally and Paris - interesting points!

uberjam said...

i guess we all want to let our guard down sometimes. it can be really tiring, i know. having to put up a mask just so things would go smoothly. it's just that sometimes, the truth and reality don't make for good bedfellows. :o

btw, i see you're from Scotland. sigh. i wish someday i could go there. :o

nonizamboni said...

I appreciated your openness and it was interesting to think about how we are viewed in a work setting for example. Its fun to have a few things that no one can guess about you too.
Nice and insightful!

InlandEmpireGirl said...

It sounds like we both wear masks at work.. just for different reasons.I also know a poet that wears glasses, hats, and other props when she reads. Engaging post.

Awareness said...

As much as I try to wear a mask at work, it always slips off!

I like your thoughts here..... :)

gautami tripathy said...

Wearing masks at work never worked for me. I can't be anything other than myself.

Janie Hickok Siess, Esq. said...

Sounds like you are dressing for success and succeeding . . . we'll all been there and still are in varying degrees. It is a necessary part of life for most of us.

Smartly written!

Inconsequential said...

lol

I'm a manager too, but I'm still the real me. Probably most unprofessional of me, and might cause a few problems if people try to take advantage of my good nature, but on the whole I couldn't bare to change myself for a job...

Crafty Green Poet said...

uberjam - yes it can help things go more smoothly.

nonizamboni - yes it is fun to have a few secrets!

awareness - in previous jobs my mask has slipped off quite a bit too, it depends on who I work with.

Gautami - I never entirely intend to be anyone other than myself. Its always just different bits of me and there's less of the real me in the work me. If that makes sense!

Janie - good point!

Inconsequential - I think it depends on who you're managing, well it does for me anyway.

ren.kat said...

You could flip this on it's head- would you really want to know what your coworker eats for breakfast?

Sian said...

I think work masks are vital. And there's the secret identity thing too I suppose. Keep em guessing, it's more fun.

sognatrice said...

I imagine that some types of work have more masks than others--I used to be a lawyer, and I'm hoping that a lot of my peers were wearing masks ;)

Patois said...

I think most of us do wear our masks, albiet to various degrees, in workplace. I'm all for being wide open to friends -- and readers! -- but less so to those whom I know just because we've been thrown together at work.

Self Taught Artist said...

I liked this post crafty green poet...its honest and more revealing, or at least more understandable to me. (I dont get poetry even though I try)

I feel I have the opposite problem, I get suffocated when I don a mask so I rarely wear one and I think I confuse people, or worse scare them. Its exhausting to wear a mask, I'd rather make them in my art :)

Sonya said...

I'm all for wearing masks at work. I have to get along with these people every day, so we might as well make it easier for everyone involved by putting on our professional masks while we are in the office.

Clare said...

I really like what you wrote. There are definitely pros and cons to wearing a mask at work. Sometimes it does feel necessary -- and other times it does feel nice to be able to connect with people more as they know more about you. I love the Simpson's too, and most people don't know that about me (unless they see the magnet on my fridge!).

Remiman said...

Juliet, We wear the masks that each of our situations calls for.
We must compartmentalize our personnalities to survive, for we can't possibly wear all our masks all the time. Some do and we call them schizophrenics.
Only those with whom we share a deep abiding love with can lift the mask.
rel

Camille said...

A colleague was talking to me about this recently. In a way, most folks wear masks, simply because working in the corporate world and trying to 'do you' doesn't usually mesh. I think at some point, everyone has to figure out how to strike a balance between being who they are at work and who they are in 'real life.'

sister AE said...

This made me think of my work! I guess I never thought of it as a "mask" but I do consciously wear various "costumes" for certain days at work. I make sure to dress better than usual when I know I need people to take me more seriously. I've found people assume I am busy and less interruptible when I am dressed in better clothes than my usual jeans or khakis.

Anita said...

I totally understand this "mask at work" sentiment too. I never thought I did, but it turns out I do. I think everyone does, at least a little.

giggles said...

My Scottish Father…(born in Cowie, came to Canada at three), used to say it’s important to save a shard of mystery about yourself! It makes you more interesting.

Many people have commented that my daughter is very hard to read. Also a manager, there are aspects of herself she chooses not to divulge. Instead she keeps an air of professionalism. Probably to protect her heart! Excellent post by the way it sure sparked a lot of dialog!

Deb G said...

I think that masks at work can be important. It's up to each individual to decide what to show the world. But reading posts about masks in the work place, or the psychological masks we don made me think about how I define mask. To me being professional at work isn't necessarily a mask, not sharing all my likes and dislikes wouldn't be either but hiding or changing my personality would be. Thanks for being so thought provoking, and thanks too for visiting my blog and your feedback!

arboleda said...

this prompt is very interesting and has many edges...to keep your personal life away from work I dont think it is wearing a mask but your personal decision and right to be private, maybe pshychologycal masks are intrinsic to human condition but it is up to us to "unmask" to some or "mask" to others..maybe it is communication matter....:)

gel(emerald eyes) said...

Terrific post.
I hear you about wishing you could be a "little more 'me" at work." Many of us want to be more free at work or other places. Many masks shouldn't "have to be."

(P.S. Don't forget; if you're ever in the states, you and your man are invited to go clubbing {if that means dancing} with Gem and me!}

Crafty Green Poet said...

ren.kat - you certainly have a point there!

sian - keep them guessing is a good one too!

sognatrice - they probably were!

patois - yes, that's my feeling too. Just because someone is in the same office doesn't mean we're therefore friends!

self taught artist - art masks are fun!

Sonya - yes it does make things easier!

Clare - another secret Simpsons fan!!

remiman / camille - yes, its true, you can't always be entirely yourself in all situations, compartmentalising is sometimes necessary.

sister ae - I know what you mean!

anita - yes to some extent I think everyone does.

giggles - I think your dad is right about the shard of mystery! And yes this post has sparked a lot of dialogue!

deb g / arboleda - yes, reading everyone's posts and comments here I have been thinking about the definition of mask.

GeL - thanks (and thanks for the invite!).

sundaycynce said...

Short and sweet; also delightful and revealing. Work personas---yes, I think most of us have those. I actually think they are usually good and appropriate (maybe that's the teacher in me).

I did like Rose's suggestion about a piece of jewelry or something that would speak of the real you as a part of the work persona.

Tag said...

My work mask has typically been a lousy one. It took over a decade to actually succumb to the idea that it isn't always good to be known as the goofball and fun guy even if I am also know as the "go to" guy.

Bills had to be paid which required a new mask, a most clever disguise. It worked! However for those with the keenest of eye, they will find clues to the real me if they so wish.

Thanks for your post!