Being “authentic” is the lingo of today’s world. Everywhere we go, we’re told to be our whole, personal selves. Even more than just our personal lives, we’re encouraged to be our most authentic selves in work environments too. Whether its reflecting on our inner strengths and weaknesses, taking part in meaningful, thought-provoking conversations at work, or finding new ways to collaborate with our coworkers, the workplace has encouraged us to reveal who we are at our core and use it to connect with others to be better in our jobs.
This seems like a great idea in theory. Being friends with your coworkers, not holding back on who you are—these are both things that make us happier as a whole and more inclined to achieve our goals at work.
When you’re taking a travel assignment for a short period of time, like 13 weeks, how do you be yourself around coworkers that could become potential friends? It’s hard to get personal at work, but if you share your traveler authenticity, you might get more out of it than you think.
Personal Growth and Traveler Authenticity
We don’t mean you should hide your authenticity. At work, be who you are! But it’s also important to keep in mind that while you’re on the job as a medical traveler, you are also a professional. You’re there to help and to do your job well. Sometimes that means helping out wherever you’re needed, being humble, and helping cover shifts.
A lot of healthcare workers talk about the divide and differences between travelers and perm staff. We say, bridge the divide by blending in. Staff nurses have certain obligations that a travel nurse might not. Perm staff may have different requirements for time off requests and vacation scheduling than a traveler does. Travelers have more freedom in that capacity, but also, travelers help perm staff by filling in the gaps. While the jobs and the vibe can be totally different, they can also be similar. They both have their positives and negatives, so use that opportunity to connect with your coworkers. Blend in where you’re needed and use your self-reflection and personality to be a team player.
Along with blending in, getting along with your coworkers is a big key to a healthy work environment, not just for you, but for everybody. Enter: work drama. Drama happens and office politics are inevitable everywhere, not just in healthcare and not just as a medical traveler.
One benefit of being a traveler is the ability to pick up and go after 13 weeks. There’s not enough time to stir up anything or listen to the drama already kicked up, so this means travelers often skip that part of their workplace. But one of the double-edged swords of bringing your most “authentic self” into the mix is that you are often caught in the crosshairs of workplace politics, as you make friends and form alliances. So how do you solve the issues of having close connections while staying out of the drama circle? Have your friends and be yourself but be yourself carefully. The honest environment of sharing thoughts and feelings at work can come back to bite you if your authenticity is not received well, not timed properly, or fosters a sense of distrust with others. Don’t stir the pot. Be diplomatic about your reputation and the company you keep, while keeping a distance from the debates.
True authenticity begins with being self-aware and the timing of revealing who you are to those around you. The only way to do that properly is by taking ownership: Know who you are, know what you value, and own your emotions and achievements simultaneously. Reveal your authenticity with the right timing to earn the trust and collaboration of your coworkers. But wait, how do you know the right timing? The great thing about this is, when you work on becoming self-aware, you can read the social cues, body language, expressions and so on, of the people in your work environment and act accordingly. Timing comes to you easily when you own who you are and what you want to tell.
When you start to create a sense of realness with your coworkers, you are learning about yourself and becoming an inspiration for others to do the same thing. When everyone is trying to find their authenticity, the outcome is a positive, collaborative and trustful work environment for everybody. If your coworkers and other medical travelers see your realness, they might turn to your approach for inspiration on how to be real with themselves. In a new year when everybody is thinking of resolutions, this can be a refreshing approach to self-care and making positive changes. Helping others be who they are and be comfortable with showing that in a work environment can also help you become a leader.
At the end of the day, the key to workplace happiness is to be your most authentic self, but skillfully. By using these personal growth points, you can communicate who you are and help others perceive you in a positive, real light. No matter if you’re on a travel assignment for 13 weeks or longer, you can create a sense of self and open up to people in your work environment in a positive and productive way.