neon sign that says "stay weird." on a dark background

Living My Truth Part 2: I’m Over Not Being Myself

A long while ago, I wrote about how I was adopting my yoga intention of “living my truth.” I was excited to realize that I was on my way to creating a life that I really loved, whether or not the universe was ready to give it to me.

I would promise you that this post won’t get anymore “woo woo” but if you know me, you know that would just be a lie.

Since I’ve worked on being a more self-aware and empathetic person, I’ve learned how to live my truth in my personal relationships. Now, I’m figuring out how to live my truth in my career (I may be a bit overly attached to my career — don’t worry, my therapist says it’s not an issue). 

When I wrote the last post, I mentioned that I got a new job at a startup I found after I changed up my job searching tactics to be more intentional. This job was perfect for me in a lot of ways. In a technical sense, I was one of the first hires at an awesome startup. While my main job was content (shocking, right?), they gave me literally any tasks that came up from sales to public relations to customer service to social media management. My multi-passionate self was living her best life.

When I left that position without anything else lined up, I knew that I would find another awesome position as the first hire of a startup. I was flexible and eager to learn, and that would make me marketable to the startups I wanted to work with. I didn’t mourn losing that job.

That is…until one month later.

I had spent the month job searching and feeling optimistic (well, you know, job searching has its ups and downs, but I have a tendency to be more up than down!). Exactly one month to the day after I lost that job, I found myself crying over it.

But I wasn’t mourning the job itself. I was mourning the fact that in that past job, I was on a team that allowed me to be myself. I could just remember all of the times my coworkers and I talked about off-the-wall (probably-somewhat-inappropriate) topics and came up with weird content ideas. I craved that atmosphere. I needed to find that again.

I thought that I had perfected my approach to job hunting by being more intentional, but I realized that wanting a “fast-paced startup culture” was really only the beginning. I craved a job where I could be my authentic self on a team that encouraged authenticity.

So I abandoned all of that “advice” that I had ever gotten about applying and interviewing. I abandoned the “classic” cover letter. I started seeking places with playful, sassy, funky branding because I wanted to help them make playful, sassy, and funky stuff. Why had I been approaching these brands with stuffy cover letters in the first place? That’s not what they wanted. They wanted me to show them I was weird and that I could prove it. Whenever I found myself writing a bland cover letter, I went back and infused it with personality. I have personality to spare, after all. I wanted to make sure they had the full picture of who they’d be hiring, weirdness and all!

I adopted a similar method when interviewing — be myself and be honest. I wanted variety. I wanted a work environment where I could make mistakes. I wanted autonomy. I wanted to work with weirdos (yes, I have actually said this in interviews). No more lying just to get a job. If I didn’t have a skill, I admitted it. If there was a task that didn’t interest me, I’d be honest about it. Every interview ended with me asking the interviewer (in the case they were a potential future manager) how they responded to their employees making mistakes. Because I would make mistakes, and I don’t work well when I’m constantly berated for them.

Are there jobs I didn’t get because of this? Probably. But I didn’t want to work somewhere where I couldn’t be myself, so that was fine by me.

My best friend gave me the advice of paying attention to how much I felt I had to mask during an interview. If I felt comfortable just being myself, that was a good sign. If I felt like I had to fake my personality, take that as a sign that the company isn’t a good fit for me. Even hearing this advice made me notice that there were some interviews that felt “off” to me, and while I couldn’t place why previously, what she said was dead on. I felt “off” because I didn’t feel I was able to be myself. Screw that.

All of this self-awareness comes with some confidence, too. I know what I do well, and I know how to compensate for the things I don’t do well. It’s time to stop second-guessing myself and letting others make decisions for me. In my job, this means admitting to myself that it’s time to take on roles with more leadership and responsibility. In my personal life, this means believing in myself enough to know I’m capable and can do complicated things on my own. I love my support system and will always appreciate their help, but I’m realizing that my “asking for help” threshold is changing.

I can do hard things. Just ask my planner.

journal that says "you can do hard things" on a wood background

At this point in my life and career, I’m putting my full self forward. If I don’t feel comfortable expressing my whole self or they respond poorly to my full self, that’s how I know that’s not the place, person, or situation for me. I know where I’m at with my goals, and it’s time to start seeking those that help me level up, not keep me where I am. Time to manifest the next stage.

I’m ready.

Photo by Dan Parlante

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