Who Are You When You’re Off-The-Clock?

I’ve been spending a lot of time talking to myself recently – in so much as I’ve been sitting in an office delivering personal brand webinars to people I can’t see or hear. (Apart from those who heed my requests to turn their camera on or unmute to talk to me.)

Initially I worried that my double-espresso delivery, that’s so easy to convey in person, would suffer – particularly maintaining my energy levels while wittering away on my lonesome. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised to learn there’s a switch in my brain that clicks into place when it knows I’m in work mode.

My extrovert tendencies (particularly a desire to entertain people while teaching them useful stuff) carry me through and, from the webinar feedback I’ve had, keep the caffeine levels ticking over nicely.

But do you know what’s really surprised me?

It turns out that the switch in my brain also knows when I’m off-the-clock and instantly clicks into introversion mode. I have zero desire to be with or talk to people (even my other half gets a limited vocabulary) and am happy to have just my thoughts to keep my company.

Which often surprises people, as they assume that because I’m an extrovert in front of them, I must be an extrovert all the time. And I see their logic: how can you be two different people and still be authentic? (Which is what personal branding is all about.)

It depends which camp you’re in

In my experience of working with literally thousands of people on their personal brands, I’ve discovered they tend to fall into two camps, with a pretty equal split. (Though I’ll say it now, this is a finger-in-the-wind statistic and not one I’ve sat and analysed data to come up with.)

Half are the same whether they’re at work ie their public self, or at home ie their private self. But the other half have different personas for their public and private selves. (That’s the half I fall into.) The fact that those personas can be so vastly different doesn’t mean the individual isn’t authentic – it’s simply the other side of the same coin.

What I find more interesting though, is that when people do have two personas, they tend to be split along the introversion/extroversion axis.

Which one are you?

To help you to discover which camp you fall into, here is a list of generalised statements (and I do mean generalised) showing the different preferences of introverts and extroverts. Go through them and see which chime with you when you’re in work/public mode and when you’re in home/private mode. Again, it’s not scientific, but it may just give you some insight:


  • Recharge by spending time alone
  • Enjoy one-to-one conversations
  • Have closer relationships, with few friends
  • Listen more
  • Deep focus for a long time
  • Are more reserved
  • Open up to a few people
  • Reflect before making decisions
  • Are not interested in getting attention
  • Prefer working in quiet spaces
  • Share ideas when prompted


  • Recharge by being sociable
  • Enjoy group conversations
  • Have more friends, but bonds are less strong
  • Speak more
  • Can be easily distracted
  • Are more open
  • Open up to anyone
  • Make decisions quickly
  • Love getting attention
  • Are fine in open workspaces
  • Speak up in meetings

So what did you discover? Are you the same both on and off the clock, with all your answers in one area? Or do you differ depending on the circumstance, with your answers split across the groups? (In which case welcome to my world!) Let me know your thoughts with a comment below.

PS In case you’re wondering, that’s not me in the photo. I’m about 20 years older and neither of my dogs is brown, but I do have dark hair (courtesy of Clairol!)

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9 responses to “Who Are You When You’re Off-The-Clock?”

  1. Jeff Clarke says:

    I don’t really have an on and off clock because, being an author, I’m often playing sequences or events in my mind from whatever I’m working on when out and about.

  2. Kate Smith says:

    Love this blog Jennifer as I think it applies to a lot of people. The extroversion/ introversion thing is not that surprising though as although we all have a preference in terms of where we get our energy from (as described in the blog), we’re not extrovert or introvert all of the time so it makes sense that we may switch to the other if we’ve spent a lot of time in one for much of the day. I am the same as you when I’ve spent a day delivering a leadership development session.
    Ps glad you’ve added to your fabulous book – I can highly recommend it to anyone.

  3. Nicola Ralston says:

    This is more thought provoking than expected. I’ve always found it surprising that my husband (an introvert) has a different persona at work and at home but, on your finger in the air assessment, he shares that characteristic with around half the population! I am definitely an extrovert and am basically the same everywhere; however, I’m also very happy with my own company. So perhaps trying to divide the population between introverts and extroverts is too blunt.

  4. Jane says:

    I’d say that my personality at work changes, but to an extent only. I’m definitely an introvert, and shy as well, but have been praised for my phone manner, which (without my initially having been aware of it) sounds quite confident and assertive. I’m guessing this has something to do with not being seen and unconsciously assuming a more effective (in the circumstances) persona. It would be good to extend that to other situations.

  5. Matthew Cox says:

    I’ve found it fascinating how my extrovert tendencies have been dialled down or at least come out less often with each passing year. I definitely recognise a lot of the points on the introvert list.

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