Being professional vs faking lightheartedness/happiness

«The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.»
Groucho Marx

One thing people can expect at work is professionalism. You do not have to like each other, but you have to work together to achieve the goal. Whether it’s a store clerk keeping his anger in check with an … undecided customer, or a worker having to deal with the usual company gossip. That’s what you buy by paying people for their work. Within reason, that is.

And that professionalism is one criteria by which I measure myself. It does not matter whether I am in a good mood or bad mood. Or whether I have a lot on my mind or … never mind, the opposite hasn’t happened, yet. I function. It is the way I was raised.

There are some benefits. For example, this attitude got me through school when I would have rather killed myself than to go to that mindless factory. During my work life, it also allowed me to finish a paper to met a conference deadline after watching my father die a few hours earlier.

On the negative side, this «above all, you have to function» attitude can get a bit unhealthy at times.

Yet, despite that attitude, I recently skipped a company outing. And I wondered why. Not why I wanted to skip it — there were a couple of stressors after all. But why I did it, despite considering myself professional.

And thinking about it — being professional is exactly the issue. Because that company outing should not be part of the job. It’s something you do because you want to enjoy time with your colleagues. And if — for reasons outside of work — I do not feel social at the moment, then another issue comes into play. Detesting lying.

Because that is what I would have to do to take part in a fun activity when I do not feel like it. Unless I want to be a spoilsport, I would have to fake a lightheartedness and happiness I do not feel at the moment. And that would be lying to people, most of whom I do respect and like to interact with.

And that is something I cannot do. I mean, I can at least understand murder (of adults). Cold-blooded planned murder (if the person deserved it). Murder in affect (if the situation got overwhelming). But lying? No, that is debasing oneself.

So, yeah, a professional meeting would have been fine. It is faking lightheartedness and happiness that is not possible. Hmm, and it is time to address that underlying mood issue.