Circumference of Me – Chapter 5

5. Professional you vs. personal you

       Every aspiring manager should remember this simple axiom: There is life after work.

Consider three ingredients that have nothing to do with work, yet are absolutely necessary for a successful career: Family, friends, and downtime.

Family support during one’s rise in the corporate ranks is crucial to making the various transitions as smooth as possible. Work can be all-consuming, if you let it. But it cannot hug you, or listen to your thoughts, aspirations, and fears. Work cannot ruffle your hair playfully, just to let you know someone cares.

Of course, you have friends at work. If you don’t, work can become drudgery and make long days even longer. And while there’s nothing wrong with having friends who jump the boundary from work to after-work, from a psychological point of view, it is important to have friends who have nothing to do with work. Relaxing with friends from work presents two potential “uh-ohs”: 1) The subject of work will come up, and; 2) with no outside influences, ideas or observations, the flow of creative juices can be greatly inhibited.

Downtime is essential to clear, concise reasoning. Smart managers realize this small truth and make sure they take time off to re-energize. Many top-level managers make time to leave work behind on a regular basis. The ones who understand the value of time away from work always return with new ideas to create a better company. Their creativity is an offshoot of time away from the day-to-day chores that always abound in the modern company.

Your work world will survive if you are not available for a time for e-mail, phone calls or text messages. Truly, it will.  Those who believe otherwise will forever be banished to Office Hell.

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