Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Put on Your Game Face

We have a joke among my friends that there’s Work Jessica and just plain old Jessica. Hopefully all of you really only ever see Work Jessica.

Work Jessica is my game face. It’s the image I want to present to the public. It means that I dress a certain way and act a certain way. And while, hopefully, Work Jessica isn’t too far off from regular Jessica, there are subtle differences. And no, I’m not going to tell you what they are and ruin the illusion.

Recently, at a conference, I was walking around, sort of confused actually. I had come out of one room in the giant hotel and was trying to get my bearings. I’ll admit, I was probably weaving and a little scattered. You know the person, you’re trying to walk around her, and just as you are about to go left she weaves left and when you try right she turns right. Well, I was that weaver and yes, it’s irritating, but, since we’re at a conference, we all have our game faces on so we grin (albeit tightly) and finally make our way around. Well, that’s what we should do.

Apparently the woman behind me didn’t feel the same way. Her solution to the situation was to storm by me, sighing deeply and huffing just a little. She was obviously irritated. The problem with this is that she didn’t know who I was. If she was an unagented author she had just acted incredibly rudely to a potential agent. If she was a bestselling author she had just acted very rudely to a potential reader, and if she was an agented but unpublished author she could have acted very rudely to a potential editor. See, here’s the thing: When at a business event like that we don’t know who’s listening in, watching, and just generally paying attention to our every move. And that’s why it’s important to keep our game faces on. When you get up to your room, the door is shut and it’s just you and your roommate and you’re allowed to huff and puff all you want, but when out in public I implore you to try as hard as you can to keep that public persona as charming as possible.