What Face Do You Wear At Work?

Mastering the Poker Face for Career Success – Black Enterprise.

This article from Black Enterprise speaks about how women, namely African American women, can “put their best face forward,” so to speak, in the workplace.

It reminded me of my mother and I – who ALWAYS wear our emotions. In African American culture, that’s not such a bad thing. In child-rearing, it is a well-known fact that “THE LOOK” from a mother can put more fear and trembling into a child than the sting of a father’s hand to the backside. (Sidenote:  I’m still trying to perfect “THE LOOK”!). In social settings, wearing a face of disapproval can silently let someone know they have either stepped on your toes or worked your last “reserve nerve” (in the words of my Aunt Deloris). My husband is a pastor and sometimes during church services, I need to get his attention and with one side-eye, let him know that I did NOT appreciate his using my spending habits as a sermon illustration!

But I digress…back to the article…I agree that showing too much emotion, or too much of the wrong emotion can get you into trouble in the workplace, especially if you are an African American woman. But let’s face it, men AND women of ALL cultures can take some advice on the appropriateness of certain nonverbal cues and their effect on our corporate communication.

Do you struggle with how you present your emotions in the workplace? How do you handle it?



2 thoughts on “What Face Do You Wear At Work?

  1. Trust me, I have a look. Often it is inviting and then there are times when it is “say what you have to say and leave my office.” Now the mother look I have perfected and it is definitely a “you don’t want to to there” kind of look. Oh well, like it or lump it!

  2. Tina – EXACTLY! I have a co-worker who advised me that as her son got older, she had to switch up the look. It seems as her son became immune to one look, she had to come up with another! LOL My father had the “James Evans lip-curl.” (oooh, I’m shuddering just THINKING about it!). Thanks for reading Tina!

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