Have you ever considered that you lead two separate lives:One, in which you snap to attention five days (or more) per week at work; the other where you stand at ease? Exhale. Act your preferred self, leisurely. There they are, those two lives, co-existing side by side...like oil and water. Makes you wonder if a solvent exists that could promote a more harmonious blend.
<?xml:namespace prefix = o /> Craig felt intense dislike for his job as a corporate executive in a large investment firm. Among other things, he was especially uncomfortable with the conservative dress code and image promoted by his peers. On weekends, he became totally different person-- jeans instead of Neiman Marcus suits; softball and tennis instead of balances and computer read-outs.
 If your job fits like a pair of shoes two sizes too small, you are probably experiencing a conflict between your image of the "ideal" employment, and the knowledge that it is necessary for you to provide income in order to maintain a preferred lifestyle. In some cases, you need to change occupations in order to resolve the conflict. In contrast, perhaps you only need to re-evaluate your own concept of work. Try a simple inventory.
 Make a list of all the specific skills you need in order to perform well at work; those technical attributes that perhaps are only acquired through schooling or on the job training. Now, check off those in which you feel fully competent. Craig's list included: The ability to manipulate numbers easily, make rapid but effective decisions; delegate responsibilities to other employees, have a working knowledge of current, as well as historical trends in the field; and interact using a professional demeanor with those employees under his supervision; and with clients.
 Next, place a check beside those routines which you enjoy doing. To Craig's surprise. he had checks beside almost every item! At this point, list the personal qualities that you believe your work requires. These are the life-long patterns of behavior that you learned in a variety of other contexts that may be usefully applied in your occupation. Things like, acting reliably, demonstrating patience with fellow workers and clients, intelligence, working diligently; and manual dexterity.
 Add to this list other qualities that in your estimation make the ideal image of someone in your profession (hint: don't be concerned if these qualities seem vague and undefined as observable behaviors. Thinking in "dry ice and fog" at times can be useful...). Craig's list included such qualities as, "sincere", "reserved", "business-like", "conscientious", and "well- dressed." Again, check those qualities you possess.
 You have now evaluated the specific skills, personal qualities and image factors. Look to where your problems lie. If they are in all three areas, you might seriously consider professional assistance to create a more useful decision strategy; or perhaps seek retraining for another occupation. If you view the problem as not-so-serious, you can develop your own plan for self-improvement in those areas deemed necessary to change.
 Craig's solution turned out to be quite simple. His problems were all in the area of image-- and his image of the perfect corporate executive was drawn from that of his father, who had been an executive vice-president of a brokerage firm. By observing, he noticed that modern financial professionals act and appear more casual, spontaneous; less conservative than their predecessors. He still did not wear jeans to work, but he did learn to relax and bring his image of the corporate executive more in focus with his acknowledged skills, without sacrificing effectiveness.