Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Who is 'Amanda' as a waitress? a loan officer? a lawyer?


I recently started a new job that I am SUPER excited about! To begin this new chapter in my life, I had to leave an old, comfortable chapter filled with great friends and fun experiences. It was a tough decision, but I am confident it was the right one.


Not long after starting the new job, I began to realize that I wasn't the same 'Amanda' that I was in my previous job. I have been reassured that this is all part of the process of starting a new job, feeling unsure about when to speak up, etc. Blah, blah, blah... I am still adjusting and learning about the new company...blah blah. Can this new experience cause me to behave unlike ME? I've noticed changes in myself that are uncharacteristic of my normal behavior. I discovered that I wasn't communicating with people in the way that I did before - being overly nice (puke, I really hate it when people are insincere) and that I was almost holeing up at my desk with little interaction with others whatsoever. I could feel the goofiness and wit bubbling up within me, about ready to explode if I didn't find an outlet. Still, I couldn't express myself in this new environment.


This made me think. At my last job, I turned 30, developed lifelong friends and really 'came into myself' or so I thought. Was 'who I was' at the last job just a version of 'Amanda', cultivated by the atmostphere and people at the last company? Or, if that was the true 'Amanda', why was she so different at the new job?


I've heard of and known women who reinvent themselves based upon the men that they date. Is this a similar situation? Am I subconciously changing things about myself to suit my new 'relationship'? If you've ever seen 'Runaway Bride' (not endorsing this movie at all), Julia Roberts' character discovers that she doesn't even know how she likes her eggs cooked because she would always adopt her fiancees' preferences. Will I take it to these lengths? Will I claim that I LOVE meetings when I really dispise them!?


Will I still be able to be 'Crazy Amanda' who says what she thinks, loves to tell racy jokes, provokes impromptu Conga lines in her office, etc.? Unlikely.


I almost feel as if I have a bit of an identity crisis right now. Who will 'Amanda' be in this new role in this new company? I understand that a certain amount of professionalism and decorum is necessary in this new corporate environment and that this will be a bit of a departure for me in my new position(not that I wasn't professional with clients in the past). Will 'Amanda' be able to be the straight-shooter she was before or should she adopt a 'company girl' attitude? Should she suggest that everyone take a break to stage a silly photoshoot? Will she stay up working until midnight with another colleague, stopping only to dance like a hoodrat to provide comedic relief?


I realize that some won't understand why this is an issue for me. Some people are able to go to work, sit at their computer, complete their tasks, check off their 'to-dos' and never really connect with the people they work with or feel passion for their work. I am obviously not one of these people. I demand more of my professional life, myself. I want to feel engaged and motivated by my work and for goodness sake, I want to have fun doing it! To me, fun means lots of laughter, hard work and the ability to be myself.


To be honest, the verdict is still out on this one. I'm still acclamating myself to the new work culture and I don't know all of my new coworkers well enough yet to know how much 'Amanda' they can handle.


I do hope they get to see the 'real her' because I think she's pretty amazing.