How much time do you spend at work? If you are the average employee/entrepreneur, according to the American Time Use Survey, you are working more than 50% of your awake time. Yes, the time with our loved one’s is precious (well mostly), but this likely feels like a special commodity because it’s short lived before we pass out at the end of a hard day. In the meantime, in between time, we’re spending most of our giving, loving, struggling, growing and hustling hours with our work family.
Functional or Not, Here We Are
Every staff has its own set of rules and it’s special characters that make the system what it is. Some of these characters are similar across the board. Let’s see if you recognize any….
Mommy Dearest: She runs a tight ship. It’s quite possible the children might feel a sense of freedom and fun for a bit, but when the waves kick up and you are looking for someone to advocate for you, take care of the tough situations and encourage you about your abilities again, captain is the one you’ll go running too. Sometimes you love them, sometimes you hate them. She’s got some big panties to fill so, admit it or not, doing without her would be much less desirable.
The Wiley Brother: He stays in trouble…ALWAYS and you’re amazed at is ability to keep his job. He’s almost always “not hearing the alarm”, taking breaks that are a bit too long, asking for favors of his work siblings and missing deadlines. But, he’s the most charming darn thing around, the clients love him, you kick yourself for laughing at his jokes when you want to be mad at his general laziness and it feels like “mom” is blinded to all his nonsense.
The “Loose” Sister: She comes in everyday like she’s going to the club and the office is her own personal Match.com gathering. You gawk in amazement while your inner dialogue sounds something like “How does she walk in those shoes??” You’re just waiting for the fall to happen and wondering just how much will spill out of her tiny clothes.
The Inappropriate Uncle: The Loose Sister feels super smart around this guy because for some reason, he always seems to go to her with random “work” questions and lingers in her office a few minutes longer than everyone else. When he’s not in there, he’s shamelessly licking his lips at the poor clients, pounding down another protein shake in the break room or talking about how many squats he was able to bust out last night.
The Golden Child: Super perfect, super smart, super annoying. This brother or sister is almost like a clone of the boss, and sometimes get’s their wires crossed thinking they are the boss. Sadly, the Golden Child is met with resistance from the family as they are often reminded of their “place” but for some reason the family is just unable to tame their ability to affect the irratatometer. Alas, we love them, we hate them, but they are the go to when the Head of Household is not available.
Wifey/Hubby/Bestie: Here’s the one who, no matter where they fall in this family, you get them, they get you, and you sneak away most of your moments seeking some sanity, laughter or peace of mind with them. They likely will listen to your big ideas about how the system SHOULD really be, what rules are dumb, how you are overworked, underpaid and how ridiculous the rest of the family is. They will also be the first to celebrate for and with you. When everyone else could care less about their birthday, they make sure you at least have a cupcake waiting on your desk. When something has smashed your week to bits, they will listen to your story, maybe cover for you at work and be on the lookout for nosey bodies. What would you do without them…Snap out of it and don’t even imagine such a thing!
Til I Quit Do We Part
I’m sure I only just scratched the surface of all the people that make up our work family, but recognize it or not, unless you work out of your house with your cat and computer, your hitched to this crew in a way that impacts your mood and your life. Ever noticed how something or someone at work has you frazzled to the point that when you get home, you’re still affected by it and your family knows it? I’ve heard leave your work at work and home at home. Hopeful aspirations. The fact of the matter, our work like is just as essential to our good mental and emotional health. If things are not right in Denmark (at work), then they do in fact spill over into that precious time I talked about earlier, with our home life. So the same suggestions you’d get to help heal regular family woes, can apply here too:
- Let it go. Did you feel wronged on Tuesday by Bob or Sandy? Don’t hold onto this until Friday, causing you to utilize the silent treatment and making it awkward for everyone. You’re a team. Talk about it, make it known you’d like things to go differently the next time and then move on. It’s way more draining to hold tight then to let go.
- Do things together and not always alone. We get in the swing of our daily tasks and sometimes forget to INTERACT. The Golden Child is often most guilty of this, creating an air of separateness, which is not conducive to feelings of connection and support. Don’t eat lunch alone if you don’t absolutely have to. Keep your office door open, not to set the standard that everyone should be in there all the time, but that if you are needed, they are welcome. Lastly, try to do some team builders everyone once in a while. Instead of just the work wife remembering a birthday, maybe making a point for everyone to be in a celebrations.
- Set aside ideas of mutiny. Yes, it’s very electric and unifying for the whole team to be plotting to overthrow the boss, however you are united in aggression and irritation which, I know from personal use, only causes an unattractive crease in the middle of your forehead and undue increases in your cortisol levels. The boss is not the enemy. They play the magical role of being with and apart at the same time. The best relationships with head of household are built on trust. When you prove you are dependable, capable and honest about issues, you will find a sense of security, confidence and happiness coming to work each day, opposed to entering a constant conspiracy theory. Try it….
- Go home. Don’t make your work family and it’s stuff your whole life. Practice gratitude for what you have with your team and what experiences you have outside of them. A good balance is key. Commitment to the family goals is great, but self-care is first or you’ll be useless to anyone who needs your best wherever you go without it.
Live a Whole Life
Short of lottery winnings, we need our jobs. It’s hard to quit either one of our families, so you may as well make the most of it, honor it and enjoy what you can. Life is too short to be waiting for the day to just be over. The day will come back tomorrow and unless you take it by the horns and make it how you want it be, you’ll only be living 25% of your awake life!