Career Happiness: Can you be yourself?

Zappos is the online retailer that has disrupted the way that most companies empower their employees. It gives two guidelines to its customer service personnel:

1. Be yourself
2. Use your judgment

Can you be yourself at your job?  If not, your lack of authenticity will begin to wear on you. I have several good friends who work in large Connecticut corporations.  When I see them for dinner, particularly on a Saturday or non-work day, they are great company.  When I see them for lunch – in the middle of their work days – they are less so.  Each seems to take 5-10 minutes to get rid of their work facade and loosen up. 

In providing career counseling through the years, I have noticed a direct correlation between authenticity at work and happiness at work.  One of my clients who works at a large Stamford financial institution said: “I just don’t care that much about money.” All day long he had to fake interest in discussions about whether the Fed would raise interest rates or how long term bonds would play out in a hyper-inflation or how Apple’s earnings reports would effect the rest of the tech sector. His career counseling wish: “I just want a career where I can talk about things that really interest me.” 

​He wanted to be authentic.  Don’t we all.