The Myth of Separation

May 03, 2010

Posted in Personal.

“In an ideal world, of course, your personal life would be impermeably separated from your professional existence.”

After reading a thought-provoking article by Nikki Massaro Kauffman on privacy and digital tattoos I realized something:

I don’t want my work and my personal life separated.

Leaving Work Behind

I don’t know about you, but I can’t turn my brain off when I go home. Likewise, I can’t ignore personal obligations and interests during work hours. The result is a constant tension.

My aunt once worked for a paper company where dozens of people worked in complete silence, in cubicles, Any attempt at conversation was quashed immediately – if it wasn’t work-related, it was costing the company money. No personal email, phone calls, or internet use.

The result was a lack of relationships, both inside and outside of the company. People didn’t work together, which meant everyone was on their own to accomplish their work. Everyone seemed unhappy. It was easy to leave work behind at the end of the day.

Do you think these people worked hard? Did they go the extra mile? Were they motivated to make things better? Of course not. Some employees found ways to be even more inefficient so they wouldn’t have to work as hard. My aunt quit after several months of this, stressed out and dissatisfied.

Work Has to be Fun

Fun comes from a number of areas: the culture, the people, and environment, and the work itself. The culture must be supportive and forgiving.

In order to have happy, engaged, and motivated employees they have to enjoy what they do. The more you like something, the more you’ll do it. The more you do it, the better you’ll get. The better you get, the more you can get paid to do it.

Given how much of your life you’re going to spend working, shouldn’t you try to find work that you enjoy?