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Every time we read news and see celebrities who seem to be charismatic even when being chased up by paparazzies and then, turn around, rush back to their cars with the most cold-hearted faces, they are immediately seen as two-faced. Well, they give out their energies to people, what’s left for them? Question is, can we maintain our professional profiles and still stay true to ourselves? I guess yes. But in order to do so, make sure we set a boundary and do not overcommit to uncertain things.

What are these boundaries? What can help us create a fence in turn, to protect our true selves and still progress in life?

I have read a book that focuses on tips for women at their workplaces. The author basically depicts a woman who appears as a strong-willed, confident and stays on the same ground with men at work and somehow, keeps the feminism of their true selves outside of work. Generally, these types of behaviors including head tilting, putting much makeup, wearing odd clothes or tucking one foot up should be extremely avoided. Things which are seen demure or deceptive are absolutely “no”. Well, are we trying to be men alike? Not exactly. But if we want to be considered for the coming promotion, do think about tiny little things we do on a daily basis that somehow, we don’t realize how significantly they can add to one’s perception about you. At the end of the day, can we stay content without any progress at work or success?

I have a friend who works full-time at a distribution center. After five mostly every day, he goes to a pole dance studio to practice for competitions and workshops throughout the year. On his Instagram, he posts photos of him doing pole in shirtless outfits, sometimes, with makeup and sexy costumes. He has many friends from all walks of life and he is quite happy with being praised by them about how talented he is. However, one day, he called to let me know he was in need of finding a room. He had been trying to contact many landlords and passionately created a profile on a room searching site to make it more serious. Yet, he could not hear back from anyone. So, he asked if I could message one of the male landlords on his behalf. I did that and found out this house owner was skeptical to lease the room to my friend since he thought my friend was a strip dancer. I personally don’t see it as problem even if it is the case. Nevertheless, you can’t expect people to think like you. What we can see here is, people do judge regardless; and, before they can know about how great you are as a person, they have already had an impression on you through your social media. Keep sensitive things unseen if you don’t want your boss to look at you at the office like you are a pole dancer.

The good thing of using social medias is mostly about helping you keep in touch with your acquaintances. However, it could also be troublesome. My mum used to look at photos on Facebook as fake ones and that people are not real on Facebook. However, after retirement, she tends to update her Facebook profile and stays active. Things seemed alright until she questioned me why I did not upload a family photo. Well, you know my anti-social nature derives from the facts that, by scrolling down my page, you primarily have an idea who I am and treat me accordingly. If my photos are all happy and smiley ones, they definitely tell I am a nice and youthful girl. Well, I may be one inside but in a professional workplace, I want to be seen as an assertive and competent woman.

A close friend of mine who is a medical doctor has shared with me her personal page where she posts photos of her road trips, funny poses and crazy moments with friends while on her public page, she is found as a professional with more photos of nature and group photos at some conferences. When I curiously asked her about why she needed two pages, the response was fairly reasonable. She emphasized the importance of maintaining her image as a medical professional since she needs that for her personal branding and for patients’ enquiries; However, as a human being, she needs a place to store her own memory photos and fun moments with friends as well. “You don’t want to be treated by a doctor who was dead drunk or wearing bunny ears”, says the woman who is seen as always keeping her feet on the ground.

These are stories proved that if we clearly set a fine line and have a mindset to maintain it, we can move forward with our work-life goals with less conflict.

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