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The Baggage We Bring to Work Each Day

Without realizing it, we sometimes infect our workplace with personal biases or memories from our past, points out Ben Dattner

Henry Ford reportedly once complained that all he wanted from a worker was a pair of hands, but that he had to deal with the whole person instead. Each of us brings our whole self to work each day, regardless of whether we have a chance to express and actualize ourselves in our jobs.

As much as we might like to believe we can adapt our personality or our style as needed at work, to an outside observer, we are likely to have many of the same strengths and weaknesses in the workplace that we have outside of it. Whether we suffer at home or at work from a lack of assertiveness or from too much confidence, whether we are accommodating peacemakers or contentious resisters, or whether we are supportive and empathic or businesslike and formal, who we are in our personal lives is inextricably linked to who we are in the workplace. And who we are in our personal lives and in our professional lives is always a function, at least in part, of our early life experience.