Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Integrity

"I try to be a completely different person at home than I am at work."

These are words that someone spoke to me the other day.  They didn't bother me at first.  This person has a job in a high stress, low morals field.  It's easy to get caught up in what you see and hear around you every day.  Not everyone is "like me."  I get that.

What bothers me, though, is that idea of being two different people, one at home and one at work.  I wonder how many of us do that.  I've worked in the public all my adult life, until a year ago.  I know there are days when you are tired or grouchy or things are not going well at home...or work...and you just have to put on a "brave" face and go about your business.  You have to leave your work at work and your home at home (as much as possible).  Everybody...EVERYBODY...has bad days. 

What I don't I understand is this notion that we can actually BE two different people.  That we can go about life and totally compartmentalize our circumstances.  And that we'd WANT to!

Me?  I want to be the same person.  I want to be the same person whether I'm alone in a room or out in a crowd, whether I'm at church or "work" or just here at home with my own family.   I want to be the same person when I'm on vacation as I am when I'm in "reality."  I strive for that!  I won't begin to say I'm good at it, but it's certainly my goal!

I'm left contemplating integrity.  Have we lost sight of it?  Has our culture become so "ope-minded" that we've lost the desire to be who and what we really are, no matter our surroundings? 



5 comments:

Lisa said...

It sounds like what you are after is a certain amount of genuine. I would agree that you shouldn't act like your values are something you can take off like a coat when you are at work. I think you can have differences between your public self and private self, though, without sacrificing authencity.

The you at work is often not the you of the weekends. Even when your core self remains the same, who people perceive you to be, and how they would describe you, will always be influenced by the circumstances under which they met you, whether that be in the professional world, at the playground with your kids, or at a bar on the weekend.

Posh said...

Hi there!
Stopping by via the hops to say hello and to follow.
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POSH

Elizabeth said...

Lisa! Welcome back! I just bopped over to your blog and saw that your baby is here! I'd been checking diligently and she hadn't come...and I didn't want to accidentally say something like, "What, no baby yet?" so I decided to step away until I was sure. She's beautiful! I loved reading your "story" too.

I think that you are sort of getting at what I am saying, here. Integrity is defined as "adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty." Am I saying you don't take on different roles? Absolutely not! You might be professional when you're at work, silly when you're with your kids, reserved when you're out with friends...

But all that doesn't matter. Those are not characteristics of being a "different" person. Those can be characteristics of the same personality, just in different settings. That's normal...that's fine.

What I don't like is the notion that we can justify, or legitimize, having two entirely separate lives...that we can say and do and be two entirely different people. That we can have our "work values" and our "home values," our "work speech" and "home speech," etc.

I don't think we really CAN totally compartmentalize it that way, even if we want to...but it pains me that we would even try!

Lisa said...

I get what you are saying. Nothing justifies cruddy behaviour in any setting. Remind me of the notion that you can't really love without letting go of your hate for another. Opposites cannot live within one heart.

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