Be Yourself… Unless there’s someone better.

I can’t change who I am… can I?

One of the most important job benefits to me is a relaxed dress code. I know it sounds petty, and it probably is. But for some reason the idea of being required to wear a button up and tie five days a week sounds like a form of torture. Maybe it’s rebellion, or just a lack of perspective. I prefer to blame it on my being one of those “creative types,” which means my environment (office space, desk, and yes, my attire) will either spur on, or completely squelch my productivity and work ethic. So several months ago when I was in the middle of job hunting I had an interview scheduled. I wanted to wear something that would get me a job (i.e. not jeans and a T-shirt), but something that was “me” as well. So I wore a fitted navy blue button up with a light brown twead skinny tie. I thought I looked dressy casual (which, in my opinion, is always a good thing), but when I asked an office administrator, who also happened to be my boss at the time, what she thought she told me, “It’s pretty out there, but it’s very you.” But the only thing worse than having to wear dress clothes to work every day is not being able to provide for my wife and child. So jokingly I responded, “I don’t care if it’s me, I’m asking if it will land me a job. I am willing to change who I am for money.” Again, my statement was meant facetiously, but after it left my mouth I realized what I said, and it caused me to think a little more deeply on the subject. 

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Be Yourself.

Individuality is truly our society’s sacred cow. I annoy myself by how much I analyze myself, and everyone I know. Why do we love personality tests so much? Why do we care which Star Wars character we are most like, or who is our celebrity look alike? Our culture drowns us in self love messages about forgiving yourself, loving yourself, believing in yourself, motivating yourself, and we really think if we get to the bottom of the question, “Who am I?” we will be better for it. I am pretty sure Teddy Roosevelt couldn’t care less if he was an introvert or an extrovert, and I can’t imagine that Benjamin Franklyn ever wondered if he was an “ENTJ” or an “INFP.” But in our day, if I were to ever seriously make a statement about changing who I am in order to make money, I would be considered a “sellout” (whatever a sellout is).

Where is the line?

Please don’t misunderstand me. I love the mind blowing statement in Psalms 139:14, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” I believe in uniqueness and individuality. My rant about casual work attire should attest to that. But what has been bugging me is the innumerable amount of people who have certain expectations about what kind of job they need that will suit their personality, or people who have made excuses about why they can’t change because, “Well, I am an introvert,” or “My personality tends to avoid conflict,” or “She has an addictive personality.” But where did this come from? This idea that I am committing some sort of crime if I do something outside of what comes most naturally to me? I feel like I am somehow being insincere, or not true to myself if I am asked to do something I’m not comfortable with. “Smile for the camera,” but I’m not a smiley person. “You should go meet that new person,” but I’m an introvert. I don’t want to downplay this. I don’t understand it, but somehow it feels like I am being asked to violate some sacred part of myself when asked to do those things. Am I being sincere, or am I just a hypocrite, acting like something I am not?

Stop thinking so hard.

“It’s the thought that counts.” How many times have I heard that statement? Have you ever noticed it only follows a failure? Kind of humorous if you think about it. But it is also sometimes untrue. Sometimes thinking gets in the way of doing. Sometimes actions are what count. I hate sounding like the, “Just get the job done” guy, but seriously. We do not have to take half an hour to think through our personal convictions every time we are asked to do something outside of ourselves. Sometimes you just have to do things you wouldn’t ordinarily do. Period. That is huge part of every Christian’s calling. The fact is that 2 Corinthians 5:10 tells us that someday we are going to stand before God, and He is going to ask what we did what the opportunities He set in front of us. And I just think it is going to go a lot better for us if we say, “I did what you asked,” rather than, “That just wasn’t very ‘me.’” There are some things that are more important than my personality. There are times when, instead of praying for discernment to know the difference between my personality and my attitude, I just have to do what needs to be done. God will honor that action, more than the hesitant concern about possibly being insincere.

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