Changing Hats

Changing hats is a term I learned in the Navy a long time ago. It has a simple meaning. When you finish up doing one job which requires one set of skills (a hat) and move onto another which requires a different set of skills (another hat) it is called changing your hat. In the service you quite literally will change the style of hat you are wearing to match the new job.

We “change hats” a lot at PHP. There are so many different facets to what we do. So many different “hats” we each wear.

The first time I change hats during a normal day is when I get home from my day job. That’s right. I work a “real” job. I am currently a Fire Sprinkler Inspector. A decent job which allows me the time to work on PHP. However, it takes a completely different mindset to perform this style work than I use to write or edit or do the podcast. It is construction-based work, so my mind is set to those parameters.

I get up early in the morning and get out the door. My mind focused on what I need to do so I can get back home and work on PHP. Once I get home, I get to take off this “hat”. How do I do this? Well, this one is easy. I take off my work boots.

Simple right. So much of what I do is based around what I wear that I can use it to help me change my mindsets (hats). For many years I didn’t take off my work boots until I was done with all my work for the day, including any work on the house or cars. Once my boots came off, the tension in my body eased up. I was done “working” for the day and could concentrate on other things.

We all possess such a mental trigger. For years for me it was taking off my work boots. Now, thanks to Covid, it’s taking off the bloody face mask I wear all day. When the mask comes off, I know I am done. For my wife Yvonne, it was the pantyhose she had to wear for work. I knew she was done with work when the hose came off. It’s like shedding a skin.

After I shed my mask and my boots, I take the time to relax for around 30 minutes to an hour.  A necessity. If I jump from one hat to the next, I often bring in remnants of one to the other. Construction work is a hard business and lacks the appropriate language for publishing work. They are two separate sets of language skills if I think about it.

I will sit and watch some easily digested piece of television. Something which doesn’t take a lot of brain power. Right now, I am watching an older Syfy series called Eureka. Simple entertainment which allows me to relax, let go of the day, and reset myself for working on The Pyrateheart Press. PHP for those who like things shortened.

Once I’m able to do it, I put on my next “hat.” This could be the one for editing, writing, business stuff, podcasts, marketing, social media, or creation of new work. Each requires a different mindset and a completely different set of skills.

I like to change clothes when I change “hats.” Leaving on my work shirt isn’t conducive to me writing. I feel like I am working physically. This distracts me. I will put on a new shirt. I do the same thing sometimes for the other “hats.” If I want to discuss business I often put on a collared shirt. Simple things really, but they make a difference in how I react or respond.

Does this work for you? I know everyone has to change “hats” at times. A stay-at-home mother changes her “hat” when she goes out with her husband without the kids, or when she is with her girlfriends, or has to deal with school issues.

The same goes for office workers and any other type of person. It amazes me to watch people who work inside cubicles after they get the chance to escape. They become completely different people. Or watch as people change when they get behind the wheel of a car.

The ones who change “hats” the best in my opinion are those who participate in things like Ren Fairs (Renaissance Fairs) or LARPS (Live Action Role Play Games) or dress up for Trekkie Conventions (Star Trek) or Comic Cons. These people truly change their “hats” when they take on these roles.

The important thing to remember is to take off all your hats at the end of the day and be yourself. You think you are who your hat represents, when you are wearing one of your “hats” but you’re not. You are deep into getting something done or doing something which takes away your concentration from the rest of your life. Don’t lose yourself to one of your “hats” and leave out the parts where you need to enjoy life. Take the hats off and look deep into the eyes of your significant other. Or your dog, or your cat. Or your fish. Then let it all go and be yourself. Save your next hat for another day.

I’m Ross, The Editor-in-Chief at the Pyrateheart Press, and I’m out.

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