You Spend More Time with the People at Work than Your Family — Are They Good For You?
It’s amazing to think that we spend more time on a daily basis with the people we work with than our own families. That is of course, if you don’t work side by side with your spouse, partner, parent, child, or children. Some do, but the majority of people don’t, and we are clocking in many hours throughout our work week with people that may be good for business, but not so good for our personal lives.
It’s natural to want to work closely with the people at work and to nurture those relationships. However, if the people at work are having an impact on your personality, your mood, your desires, your outlook, and your work performance, then you have to be careful and ask yourself, are they good for you?
If the answer is “yes” and that can be echoed the same by the people that are in your personal life then you are lucky.
There are many people that know deep down they are being impacted by someone or several people at work and it isn’t good for them. Perhaps that person influences your viewpoint, expectations, patience, opinion, personal reflection, or even your feelings about your family or you. If so then you really only have a few choices:
1) Accept the situation and allow the impact to keep penetrating your personal life.
2) Accept the situation and put up appropriate boundaries to stop the influence or bring about change.
3) Remove yourself from the situation and find a new job.
If you choose #1, then the consequences are yours to accept. It would amaze me that anyone would choose this option, especially if they knew that the influence was bad for them. Certainly the easy route isn’t worth it. Seek emotional support and help from a trusted family member, a clergy member, or counselor. If the people at work are having a negative impact on you and your life, then you need to stop it or remove yourself, please look at choosing #2 or #3. Losing your authentic self or your connections to your family and friends due to a work situation is not the right choice, ever.
If #2 is where you want to begin, then I suggest you approach a supervisor, human resource manager, or the direct leader in your group, office, or business. They can help curb the impact the person or persons are having on your professional life. It may be as easy as rearranging your work area and putting up physical boundaries to make you less accessible. It may be that what is impacting you is also having a negative influence on others in the office and it is something that must be addressed for the betterment of all that work there and the business.
Other options are bringing in experts in the field of work relationships and team building to staff meetings to try and implement new ways of interacting and working together. Rearranging responsibilities or work hours are other ideas.
I read where one work office sought to build natural boundaries between workers to lessen their interactions with one another in an effort to keep down the building tensions. They used plants and strategically placed office furniture to give people more privacy from one another and they installed a music system. By allowing the workers to wear earbuds and tune in to one of four chosen music channels provided by the business, it cut down on office talking, gossip, and tensions. Another solution for a business was bringing in an office designer team that in two days changed up the work stations and flow of the business to lessen interruptions and provide more personal boundaries for work privacy. The business reported a gain in sales, fewer lost man hours, less turnover, and fewer absences.
Perhaps the work force simply isn’t being utilized enough. There is too much down time, too much idle time throughout the day, and that is offering opportunity for negativity to creep in and impact you and others. If so, then more work can be done or a smaller work force is warranted and management will need to make those decisions.
Rarely is there a time where a business isn’t thinking they need more people to do more, and by offering a fresh viewpoint of the work force efforts and offering to take on new responsibilities to do more you may find you are the solution to the business’ problems and the catalyst for change.
Being informed about a conflict or the negative impacts of a work group could be advantageous for the business if changes are made. It is important that you approach the situation professionally. State your case to your leader without blame and offer facts as to how the situation is detrimental to your ability to function successfully at work. Let them know you are willing to work cooperatively to bring about a solution that is best for the business and all the co-workers.
If no solutions are offered and excuses are made, then it may be up to you to set your own boundaries. Perhaps you need to quit going on break with the office group and stay in for lunch when others are going out together to avoid the negative influences. Reordering your work processes to avoid their ability to have access to you is another option. Stay busy and refrain from being open to their comments. You may have to actually state that you have a lot to do and you need to concentrate on your efforts and cut them off short in a blunt but professional manner. Keep in mind that it might need to occur more than once. You have the ability to limit their access to your thoughts and responses, so exercise that control and make the changes necessary.
If you find that you can’t stay in your present situation, then begin looking for a change. Start job hunting and spend your energy on improving and updating your resume rather than on focusing on the negative. Hope for change is a powerful motivator and can do wonders in making your strengths come alive and limit other’s influences on your life.
Make sure to spend quality time whenever possible with your family and friends and nourish those relationships to support your efforts for a major job or career change.
We only have one life, and you never know the number of days you have or others have with you. If work isn’t having a positive impact on your life, then seek to change that situation or put yourself into a new one. You spend more of your alert time and energy in the course of a week with your co-workers than your family and friends. If your work isn’t contributing to your personal life in a positive way then change is necessary.
Steve Jobs said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
Find a job you love, with work that fulfills you, and do it with people that want the same for themselves. Then those things will come together to fulfill you professionally and personally. In turn, it will benefit all the areas of your life, including the relationships you have with family and friends.
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