Friday, September 3, 2010

Personal Life vs. Work Life

Having just returned from a short vacation I found myself thinking about a concept to share. I call it Personal Life vs. Work life. There is not a lot of advice in the career world about how to separate your personal life and your work life. Often times an individual will set themselves up either at work or while searching for work by mixing the two lives. There are so many things that can blur the lines and make either finding or maintaining gainful employment. I will be going over some of the major ones (in my opinion of course)

  1. Substance abuse and work performance. There are millions of people who have some sort of substance abuse related issue in the working world. Most if not all employers do require a drug screen before an offer will be made for a job so if you use and illegal drug or over use a prescription drug you might not get out of the starting gate for a job. If you go out and tie a good one on the night before you go to work then your performance might be effected on that job.
  2. Family issues are another major halting point for success on the job or in the job search. Whether you have children and have to make decisions based on their school schedule, not having a sitter, or after school activities you might be limiting yourself to be successful at a job. Yes, most employers listen as you talk about the cute thing that your child did or said, but realistically that is something that should be shared with family and friends. Remember your employer is not your friend, they are your employer.
  3. Elderly relatives’ healthcare related issues are another way to blur the lines of work and home.  As the baby boomers are aging there are a number of health related issues that families have to face. It might be physical health related or mental health related issues. There is the FMLA which helps with certain types of family related issues but it does not generally make an employer happy if you have to take a lot of time off to make appointments, or have to miss work all together.
  4. Personal phone calls at work are generally a bad idea also. When one is at work that is where they need to be and be focused on. If you had an argument with your spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, neighbor, child or other family member and they want to keep calling to make their point while you are at work they need to be reminded you are at work. I realize emergencies might arise where one might need to be reached, but a standard rule should be, unless it is an emergency please do not contact me while at work.
  5. Personal email sites are becoming more and more blocked at most job sites, because to many people are trying to check their personal email, sending all those forwards and chain letters and just mainly wasting time allotted for work. I know individuals that cannot seem to live without their Facebook, Myspace, or other social site, but checking these when it is against company policy should be avoided
  6. Dating a co-worker is the largest way to mix work and personal and that is why most employers frown on interoffice dating. If you have an argument at home, and on your way to work, nothing good will come of being in the same office or building because most of the time you need that separation.

A method I developed years ago to keep personal life personal and work life workable was to walk up to the front door of the business, imaging my work/personal time clock and I would imagine I clocked in at work and left personal life outside, then when I left work I clocked out of work and back into personal life. I have known many people who have lost their job because work life and personal life have mixed.

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