Mode A and mode B

One day , a friend invited me to a toastmaster’s workshop. After the workshop, I had a talk with my friend. We started the conversation from how to evaluate others after they delivered a speech. After a while, we changed the topic and started to talk about careers.

I told her that my dream career is to work for a great company which appreciates my strength and gives me lots of opportunities to perform, learn and grow.

“You have to switch to mode B when you work in a competitive field such as  marketing . You need to communicate with local people a lot, unlike accountants or IT specialists, who don’t need to communicate with people very much at work. When communicating with people, you can’t be your own self, which is your current one –mode A. You are nice, modest and easygoing. You are a very nice person but you are not aggressive enough;you are not loud enough to be heard .You need to be heard as you are a marketing professional in the North American market. You need to use a strong and bold voice when answering those tough challenging questions thrown from business people.”

It is interesting to hear my friend’s opinion –mode A and mode B. As a Gemini in the horoscope, I do realize that I seem to have a dual personality –mode A and mode B–as described in horoscope books. But maybe mode A and B apply to many people.

When I talked with my friends who are mothers, to my surprise, we found that our children all seem to have a mode A and B. For example, John is a very good boy in everybody’s eyes outside of the home.

“John is such a good boy. Everyday he practices piano by himself for 1.5 hours at my home. He is well mannered at the table. He likes reading with my kids. He is just a role model for my kids.” My friend told me everyday when I sent John to her home for babysitting for one week. She has two kids, one is a bit older than John, one is 2 years younger.

“Is that so?” I am smiling. I am thinking about the scene at home. John fights with me and refuses to sit on his piano bench for more than 3 minutes. During piano practice, he keeps moving here and there. He goes for washroom breaks, water breaks, snack breaks or just to check what other people are doing. I am often driven mad by his misbehavior.

“Can you sit on the bench and finish this piece? Then you can come to me and have some snacks.” I am irritated and tell him to seriously practice his piano

Or the usual conversation like: “Are you practicing piano seriously? Why do you need to check what we are doing in the kitchen? Why do you need to know where grandma is? She is doing gardening. Have you been focused on what you are doing? ….” Then John’s reaction usually is to make faces , or ignore us and laugh.

When having dinner, I always need to remind him to be focused on eating instead of looking at his Pokémon cards or his toy car. He always eats slowly and always is the last person remaining at the dinner table.

But from my friend’s comment, what a good boy John was at her home. He practiced piano over an hour and didn’t move  from the bench. John was well mannered at the dinner table. John even read , while he often finds excuses not to read at home. How extremely different John’s mode A and B are!

Is it only John who has two modes? Actually lots of people do ,including myself. I am very patient. I always in a good mood when with my friends. But at home, sometimes I shout at John for not practicing piano well or being naughty.

Sometimes I am angry with him because he doesn’t want to sleep at 9. He is too energetic and doesn’t’ want to go to bed unless he is very tired ,which is very rarely.

When I complain to my husband about John’s naughty deeds I think : why am I so patient with my friends but easily get mad with my kid and family? Is it because I also have a mode A and B?

We try to hide something from people. John behaved well at my friend’s home since he likes to be seen as a good boy in my friend’s eyes. He is at real mode at home because he doesn’t need to please his parents. I also have different modes. I try to please the external self that I am a gentle, nice, patient ,good tempered person in my friend’s eyes but at home I don’t need to please my family.