At car shows, the hoods are always popped and the engines are clean, shiny, and presentable. My car's engine is not. Most people do not polish their engine blocks because most people will never have a gaggle of strangers peering under their hood. And so it is with my code.
I hold my code to a higher standard when writing something for a blog post, a presentation, or documentation. When there is the possibility of really, really good programmers I've never met reading over my code, I fuss over it considerably more than I do when writing application code in some dark corner of a project.
Clearly this isn't ideal - I should do my best work all the time. But I'm wondering how bad it is, and how common it is. I hold the formatting of my resume to higher standards than most other documents I create because total strangers will infer a lot about me from that one page. I'm being similarly judged by other developers based on a small sample of my work. So it's a natural response to polish code that I know will be used to judge me, but the fact remains that I'm doing my best work for total strangers, not for my development team and that makes me very uncomfortable.
Can anyone out there relate? Is it even possible to overcome such a self-conscious instinct?