I am an intensely private person – no, seriously; while I know that I share my views and comments daily in a professional capacity via a Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn, I have always drawn a strict line between my work life and my private life. It may be cultural – as the German saying goes ‘Dienst ist Dienst, und Schnaps ist Schnaps’, denoting the separation of work and play – or just personal preference, but I have always made a strong separation, even down to changing into different clothing at the workplace, thus marking the transition from the private to the work identity. And in a world with stationary computers and landline telephones that used to be an easily achievable thing. When mobile phones came in, it got significantly harder for many of us to ‘switch off’ the office. I’ve managed to escape that by practicing a fairly consistent hardware separation, leaving each or the other mostly untouched in the times allocated to my different identities. My learning experience is though that over the last year I’ve developed what I call a third identity – combining aspects of the private and the work one; I’ve come to call that my professional identity. I know it sounds still work-ish, but it clearly goes beyond that. I think it’s grounded in being trained as an academic, only taking on the manager role in my early thirties – I have an inherent interest in my field beyond the working hours and demands of the day. An academic is not only an academic when they lecture, or are ‘research active’ – it is part of the job to be interested and pursuing knowledge outside their office hours. And those are often the most productive. And that’s my lesson – my professional identity influences both my private and my work one; it’s the most fragile, but the most creative of them all, and it lives from the freedom to think and inspire the others. To stick with the title of this blog – the man behind the curtain is my private identity, the image of the wizard is the one at work – and the feet you see sticking out from beneath the curtain is my professional identity on which both depend.