We all work our 40+ hours each week, having weekdays (and/or weekends in some cases) filled with the day to day tasks required to get that project out the door, satisfy that client’s need, or meet the sales goal that has been laid on you. Most of us also have some form of a personal life outside of the office. Whether it be catching the game on Sunday at your favorite pub, grabbing wings and beers at that joint every Wednesday with your boys, or settling in each Friday night with a bottle of Moscato and Gossip Girl. At least to some extent, there is a life that exists outside of your cubicle walls. What so many people around me have failed to do is keep these areas separate. Without borders, our life becomes one big fluid mess of our professional and personal lives that takes the shape of whatever catastrophe is currently at hand.
From 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. it is your duty, your obligation, to meet the requirements of your position. Such and Such Firm has been gracious enough to hire you even after they saw you walk in wearing that Van Heusen suit and reversible belt on the wrong side of matching those shoes you wore for the past 3 formals. They are fully aware that you know next to nothing upon graduating college other than how to kill a case of Busch and throw a ping pong ball into a cup. They also realize you at least have the mental capacity to learn. You are a cheap piece of clay that they can mold into whatever shape they see fit. As such, you owe it to them to be focused, prioritized, and goal oriented each day you clock in. Answer those emails, make that call, go to those meetings, and put out fires all day long. But when it comes time to leave for the day, leave work at work.
My wife asks me every day, “How was work?” I tell her. But I do not elaborate. I don’t feel the need to bring all of the same pressures of my job home to throw on her shoulders. And as big of an asshole as I sound, I don’t want to hear about her work problems each and every day either. It takes a toll on a person hearing bitching and moaning about the same issues day after day. Work issues will not get solved at home. Your boss sent another condescending email to you with passive aggressive undertones? You had three really shitty customers with attitudes that rivaled a toddler’s at nap time, all back to back? You had to listen to the Dixie Chicks all day again because Janice refuses to wear headphones? I’m sorry, but I don’t have the power or authority to solve those problems. These sound like issues that should be handled internally. Sometimes things reach a boiling point and you can’t help but explode, venting everything that has been weighing on you. But in my opinion, I’d rather deal with a total blowout every once in a while than a squeaky wheel that constantly needs greasing. Maybe that’s just me.
I have my work email on my phone like most people do these days. But I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that I didn’t regret that decision. If your company pays for your phone you are kind of in a bind on this one. But if they don’t pay for it, don’t take that plunge. Every time I look down at my phone when I’m out grabbing a bite to eat or hanging out with some friends just to see a notification indicating a new email from work, it almost instantly puts me in a bad mood. I got a notification at 10:45 p.m. this Christmas Eve.
Are you fucking kidding me? Are you actually The Grinch?
One resolution I have for this coming year is come 6:00 p.m. on a weekday, I’m done. I won’t be checking email from my phone if I am not on work hours. It’s not worth it. We get so few hours alone to ourselves during the week that it is unhealthy to let work steal them from us. Your significant other, your dog, your Tinder account, they don’t deserve that. Spend time while you can with the things that matter. Cleaning the apartment, grocery shopping, paying bills, and general adulting, can’t happen if you are constantly checking emails.
Keep your salary to yourself. This really should not need saying, but it actually is an issue I’ve seen (mostly in the male population from my observations). Regardless of genital type, I don’t understand the need to have a dick measuring contest about our careers. Telling someone how much you make leads to one end result: the other person feeling uncomfortable. They either make more than you and are confused as to why you are bragging about your pay, or they make less than you and all of a sudden are questioning their career path and why they are not making as much as other people their same age. It’s a dick move to talk about how much you make no matter how you look at it. So you keep your $10k raise to yourself and I’ll keep my 6% Christmas bonus to myself. Congrats on the promotion but keep the details to yourself.
One more piece of advice I have: when you’re out at the bar catching happy hour with your coworkers and a buddy joins, or your lady friend shows up, don’t talk about work. That person doesn’t work with all of you so when the conversation revolves around work, people get alienated very quickly. I’ve done it, and I’ve also been on the other end. Be conscious of your company because there is more to life than work. Just be sure you keep it under 100 on the weekdays because these boundaries go both ways. My boss doesn’t want me showing up to work hungover any more than I want to hear about his kid’s pee-wee hockey league. .
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