… the HR Minion. Because even minions have opinions. And giggles.

Be yourself

I have to say that of all the things that could have become my trademark, I did not anticipate that my laughter would serve as such a distinguishing trait. Would you believe me if I told you that I didn’t used to get compliments on my laugh? That phenomenon has only been around for the last few years. It’s not because my laugh has changed or because I was a more serious person before. It’s because I used to hold myself back. At work, in public, around strangers – basically, in any situation that didn’t involve really close friends or family, I would hold myself back.

You see, I was embarrassed. Of my laugh. Silly, huh? But to me I thought it was too loud, too casual, and unprofessional. So at work, I would politely smile or quietly giggle at a joke, but I would never really open up. And that was to my own detriment. Sure, I got along with my co-workers just fine, but we were never close. I’m not one who thinks you need to have a best friend at work or even that you need to like your co-workers to do your job. But by holding my true self back, even if they didn’t consciously know what I was doing, my co-workers felt the wall I had put up and didn’t try to get closer. In fact, it wasn’t until after I had left that company that I really started making friends with some of them because then I felt I could be more relaxed around them.

Once I figured out what I was doing and opened up, the change was noticeable. I was forming better working relationships, people were more willing to seek me out, and I was more effective at work. People felt they knew me. Now, I’m not advocating throwing professionalism out the window. I’m still a big believer in having a work persona. But you can be professional and still be yourself. It can be a tiny line to walk at times but it can be done. And It needs to be. Besides, a few missteps now and again will only make you that much more real in their eyes. So don’t be afraid to laugh.

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