No matter where we are, we may struggle with separating work and home life at some point in our life. For some, the only thing we can think off is work, and we may over-focus on the issues at hand—my manager, the workload, teammates and so forth. As soon as we start a conversation with someone unrelated to our workplace, we find a “Segway” to talk about our work, especially our grievances. This talk about work has been going on for a long time. When people see you coming, you sense they are trying to avoid you.
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The way we stitch together our thoughts may be conscious, though more often is not. I am using the “coat hanger” metaphor to illustrate how we may be organising our thinking. Below are a couple of coat hangers you can explore:
Coat Hanger 1: Your context—everyone is leaving, so I need to lend a hand.
Brilliant first response. However, if months have passed and nothing changes, you may need to talk to your leader/manager. Things to discuss: re-negotiating deliverables, prioritising, and managing expectations, yours and the organisation.
Edited Coat Hanger 1: Everyone is leaving; I will lend a hand and schedule some time to discuss what we are doing to manage the workload. My well-being makes the work possible.
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Coat Hanger 2: Your context: It is good to let off steam and share your feelings with others; Yes, it is, but within reason. If “letting off steam” is your default way to open any conversation, consider the impact on others. Steer away from making it all about you!
Edited Coat Hanger 2: Let me put my work worries in ice for xxx. They will be waiting for me. Now I am choosing to be present with my friends and family. You can start by asking curious questions about others. By curious, we mean with the intent of discovering something new about them. Focus your attention on others.
The opportunity is to reshape how we think about what is happening to us by taking action.