Being Personal Isn't Professional
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Basic Information

Being Personal Isn't Professional is a characterization trope where a character is distant and socially aloof in the workplace. They may be a friendly fellow at home or in their element, but when on the job site they're as cold as a robot.

They wear their game face to work (and punch the clock), but then leave it in the parking garage when they head home at night. May even secretly be a Punch Clock Hero or Punch Clock Villain, depending on how much compartmentalization they indulge in.



Game and Story Use

  • This is a very true-to-life trope, and most of us have met someone who is a completely different person in work then when out on the town. However, it can be tricky to deploy the trope effectively in a game unless you dial (and ham) it up. It's fairly rare for background characters to show up in both workplace scenes and home life, so the GM may have to go out of their way to use this in a game. That said, it probably would work well in investigative and mystery scenarios, when following the clues eventually reveals that the ever-so-professional stick-in-the-mud either:
    • leads a wild party life of sin and vice that makes them vulnerable to blackmail, corruption, or predatory danger
    • or has a full-blown secret identity/alter ego that is tangled up in the roots of the core mystery (or an espionage plot)
    • This can be a big deal for anyone whose job makes heavy emotional demands on them - medical professionals and others who deal with human suffering and misery (treating or supplying) cannot afford to emotionally engage with their clients or they will be absolutely destroyed by their work.
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