Since this prompt went up, I’ve been considering what my reputation is and how to write about it. The first thought which popped into my mind was my professional reputation, and my conclusion there is that this currently isn’t where I want it to be. That’s probably a good thing – I wouldn’t want to be able to say “I’m done, I can go no further” when I’m only just approaching the age of 27. But it’s also further from where I would’ve assumed it would be five years ago, and that’s because I’ve made big changes in the last year.
I met with two recruiters this week. The first one commented that I’ve, “got a lot of experience”. Without missing a beat, I thanked her for using a euphemism for the fact that I’ve job hopped. My CV speaks for itself: I’ve yet to stay in a grown up job for two years, which is a little embarrassing. Maybe that demonstrates that I can’t stick at something, perhaps it shows that I know when to quit. Either way, it’s a reputation – I don’t mess around.
And I’ve had that kind of reputation for a long time: 10 years ago in my part time job, I had a regular customer at our store who referred to me as a Rottweiler and one of the supervisors jokingly called me a witch. Oops? I think they meant that I don’t suffer fools.
My friends and family would probably say the same thing – my heart is worn proudly on my sleeve, it’s easy to know how I feel and what I think (I’ll quickly show you and tell you, I’m a terrible liar). So if any of them want honesty, I may be the first port of call. I like to think that I’m not nasty about it – there’s no need – but that I give my true opinion (after all, they’ve asked!).
All of these things about me are true. It bothers me a little that I could be considered someone who gives up easily in professional terms, but when I worked through my close friends, telling them this time last year what my future plans were, all of them reacted positively (even the ones I didn’t think would) – they were proud, supportive and sometimes jealous.
Whether we intend to or not, my belief is that we cultivate our own reputation. Some people do this in a calculating way in order to get what they want – good or bad. Others will do it without noticing, and again that can be good or bad! They may not be self-aware enough to realise that what they’re doing could be perceived negatively, or they could just not care.
I try to wear several hats, because I don’t necessarily want my friends and family to view me in the same way as customers, clients and colleagues do. But I suspect that my personality traits all peek through to some extent or other: I’m bossy, opinionated and stubborn but, ultimately, I want to be seen as being good at whatever it is that I’m doing.