MSEJ July 2017 - Page 10

I consider myself an honest person—though I always try to temper my honesty with empathy and kindness. As a nonfiction writer, I’ve learned to be comfortable with uncomfortable questions, and generally have no compunction when it comes to giving an honest answer.

As a teacher, I’ve learned that at least one student a semester will ask something that isn’t really any of their business. While most instructors tend to ignore or dismiss such questions, I try to give them some kind of answer. Is it the answer I’d give a close friend? No—not by a long shot. But I give an answer, especially if I can relate it to something that might benefit the student at a later date.

When I answer my students and give them a slightly different answer than what I’d give my friend, am I engaging in dishonesty? Or am I merely employing a conversational tool that I’m within my rights (and in some cases, my duty) to use?

Today, I’m here to suggest that I’m performing the latter (and that you should do the same). I’m not lying, or skirting the truth. I’m engaging in a valuable practice known as “filtering” my

persona. By doing so, I’m respecting my right to privacy, taking ownership of my narrative, and maintaining my professionalism—three practices that make for a saner, happier self at home and at work.

Although we may be perfectly capable of holding our cards close to the vest, there are certain social situations that seem to specialize in prying answers out of an individual at an alarming rate. Whether it’s a job interview, a recruitment fair, or a professional mixer, sometimes it’s hard to remember that the evaluation process begins before you open your mouth. Often, we remember this fact about two seconds after we’ve been asked (and have answered) a question… perhaps with more truth than discretion.

Full Disclosure:

Filtering the Truth

By: Emilie Duck

Why do we give it (ourselves) up?