Tania Hew ‏@taniahew: Interested in your take on advice to be yourself when seeking leadership roles/new jobs.


Everyone puts on a mask when they wake up in the morning. They have different masks for different occasions. I have my father mask, my partner mask, my lover mask, my friend mask. My work mask. Most of the time those masks wear down. Over time, we become more comfortable being ourselves. On a first date we wear our best clothes. We smile. We spend money. We ask questions and then we ask the person to clarify. Six months later we are sitting around in our underwear watching football on TV next to the girlfriends we reeled in. “What, honey? Did you say something?”

Everyone does this. Or almost everyone.

You don’t have to do it. When you are interviewing or taking a leadership position or even going out on a date, imagine if you didn’t put on a mask. Suddenly you are standing out from 99% of the population.

You’re first!

People who are good at what they do (even a potential spouse looking for a mate in the wild) can spot the masks pretty easily. They aren’t idiots. Nor do you want to work for or be with an idiot.

You can choose to stand out from the 99% of the population. Say what you mean. Say what you want to do. As I mentioned in the previous article, I know I’m a poor judge of people. So when I meet someone I really want to ask questions and try to learn something. I don’t know about this person. I want to learn who they are so I can form an opinion. Ask questions in your interview. Learn more about them than they can learn about you. If you truly want to do well at a company, learn more about the company during the interview. What other way is the best way to learn about a company – you have an employee right there ready to answer all of your questions.

You might think: wear the mask in the interview but then do well at the job. If you can’t do well being yourself at the interview then why would you want that job? You want to be with people who like the real you, not the you who is good at wearing masks.

Before my first date with Claudia she told me she was from Buenos Aires. Like an idiot, I responded, “Oh, I’ve never been to Brazil!” I didn’t know Buenos Aires was in Argentina. Somehow she still agreed to go on a first date with me.

On the first date, I said to Claudia how when I was 13 years old I bought every book on astral projection with the idea that I would fly around invisibly in order to see other girls naked. That was my entire goal in life at that time although it never quite worked the way the books said it would.

Somehow she agreed to go on a second date with me.

Now, over three years later, I’m sitting in my underwear typing this while she is in some other room doing god knows what. Avoiding me probably. But I was myself all the way through and now I’m happy.