Identity is much more than something that gets stolen when you use your credit card online. A person’s identity in the sociological definition is a person’s conception and expression of their individuality or group affiliations. My personal Identity changes depending on the context of where I am. Whether I am on campus, at home, downstate with my family or at work I act accordingly to my surroundings.
When I am at home at the fraternity house I am extremely casual. Ill dress in whatever clothes I want. I might make a bawdy joke or speak with more casual language. I may drink a little more than I should or be rowdy. My fraternity brothers and I are all very laid back people and this type of casual unprofessional behavior does not bother us. We are all very casual at home. College is stressful and it’s nice to have a place to come home to where you can relax and not worry about using casual language or dressing nicely.
When I am on campus I try to clean it up a little bit. I wear nice clothes and try to look presentable. You never know who you can run into on campus and I think you should look good and behave well on campus and in class. During classes I am quiet and attentive as to not disrupt class. I participate in discussions and try to speak more eloquently than I do at home.
When I am at home with my family in Detroit, I try to behave as if I was on campus. I don’t have to dress as nice, but my parents do expect me to have manners and speak well.
At work it is whistle clean all the time. Dressed to impress and using professional language at all times.
I find it almost comical how much my identity changes depending on my context. I usually am wearing jeans boots and a flannel shirt every day. And I’m never caught dead without a hat. I speak pretty coarsely and I don’t sugar coat anything. I am a firm believer in speaking your mind. Straight questions deserve straight answers. At work it is almost a Jekyll and Hyde switch. I speak eloquently. I dress well and I never wear a hat. I am courteous and professional when I speak my opinion even if I disagree.
This change can be defined by the sociological norms of both my peer group at the House and my peer group at work. When I am at the fraternity house, there are almost no sociological norms. We have a great propensity to live and let live. People swear, walk around with no shirt on, drink openly and tell you to your face that “your Idea sucks”. If I had to break it down I would say because we are all such good friends that we can act like this and feel comfortable that no one would take offense. The complete polar opposite of this is when I am at work. The people I work with in an engineering environment are all highly educated. They may or may not have lived in the same environment as me in college; I do not know what they may find offensive. It is these unknown facts and the fear of ramifications that drives me to uphold social norms. I hate wearing a suit. I find it unnecessary and unless I am giving a presentation or addressing someone of great importance. I still wear a suit to the career fair though, this is because everyone else is and I would look silly to the representatives if I showed up in flannel and boots.
When it all gets broken down my identity changes to fit the norms that will allow me to be the most comfortable yet get the most done. If I dress casually at work and that is not the norm I may not be taken seriously and that will hinder my performance at the job. If I dress too professionally at a casual event the ramifications aren’t as steep but there will still be some funny looks and questions will be asked. I feel like my identity is a person who gets things done regardless of the social norms I must obey.