Mary Branscombe (marypcb) wrote,
Mary Branscombe
marypcb

Who are you? And who are you at work?

Fascinating figures in the new Vodafone Working Nation study on how we change our identity at work. They coin the term 'identity-stressed' for people who have to change their personality, attitude, appearance or accent at work. Smaller companies (51-250 employees) are where people feel they have to change themselves the most; like a village, where everyone knows what you do but doesn't know you well enough to be forgiving, perhaps. But it happens in nearly all sizes of company and in every industry sector.

For a journalist who deals with a lot of PR people, this one is fascinating. "The industry sector most likely to play host to identity-stressed workers is media and marketing, where ten percent of respondents say they completely change their personality at work."

This makes sense for people in PR who are always representing a client as well as their own company so they're at two removes from being themselves. I know PR folk who let their hair down after hours, but I don't think I know anyone who completely changes their personality. But then maybe their work face would be so different that you'd never get to know someone enough to see their off-duty real face.

In general, people think sales, marketing and finance workers are most likely to change their persona; finance workers agree we've got them bang to rights but only 41% of media and marketing folk expect marketing people to have a false persona. So are the people changing their persona so good we don't even know?

A third of managers (in all fields) have seen someone take credit for another employee's work. 34% have seen an employee shift the blame for their mistakes. I wonder if it's the same third or if we're 66% back-stabbing glory-grabbers? Employees who have changed their personality for work are more likely to see that in action, but not much more; 65% of them have seen colleagues or managers let others take the blame for their mistakes as opposed to 46% overall.

Technology can give you a different personality to some extent. It's easy to be terse in email or cute in IM. Software can remind you not to cut people off the CC list or make it look like you're at the airport when you're down the pub. It's your own habits that make you a workaholic and technology can help you escape or mire you in it further depending on how you approach it. It looks like we change ourselves far more than our (non-medical) technology does.
Tags: numbers, survey, technology, vodafone, work, working nation, writing
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