How to not bring work home

We work in a job that can get stressful and irritating not because of what is in your job description but due to the people we work with. There is indecision from higher ups, inexperience and incompetence at all levels and then there are people who expect you to hold their hands as they do their jobs. Before we go ahead let me say this, neither one of us is a saint and we are incompetent to take up quite a few tasks which are thrust upon us.

In past 6 months we have barely managed to trickle out a post a month and the reason is sheer exhaustion after work. We work 5.5 days a week and around 9 hours make it a full working day. Do we enjoy what we do? Yes quite a few parts of it are really enjoyable and rewarding as you can measure personal and professional growth clearly and it is in a public realm. There are quite a few parts of it which are simply disturbing in all senses.

Past few months we have been managing a team while it was not our place to do so and in our field being young is seldom an advantage. With huge egos and general belief that young ones don’t have any experience it becomes a task to handle ‘big people’ and meet timelines.

This is more our fault than others around us. There is a reason job description and titles are created in a workplace. The reason is so that people don’t interfere in other’s work and that they are not bogged down by unreasonable requests. Fields which require immense collaboration result in overlapping roles and expectations of you filling in for others or guiding them how to do their jobs. That however is the role of their manager and not yours, unless you are their manager. We have often times failed to understand and limit ourselves to our role and we have seen both benefits and drawbacks of doing this.

We have been appreciated multiple times but there have been many who have taken offence at someone exposing where they lack. Have you seen that Hidden figures scene where Katherine answers in a meeting what her boss is fumbling papers for. That is never fun for the boss unless she takes pride in being supported by good people.

Educating each other is a part of any job and allows any organisation to run seamlessly and for employees to actually take time off. However when your colleagues start relying on you for every single task you have managed to put yourself in a corner. Each one of us has struggled with getting work done especially if it involves working with another team.

What we learnt

Last few weeks have however taught us multiple lessons which have not just helped us increase our productivity but also reduce our stress and workload.

  1. It is just work. Before you started working similar work was being done however inefficiently it might have been. As long as you are not the cog blocking the machine you should not be worried about job not being done. Do your part and let others catch up. Even if they don’t improve you can be assured that the end result will be achieved. It might not look exactly like what you wanted but there will something at the end.
  2. Personal responsibility is better than collective responsibility. Do your job first before you start helping people with their. If you job is to manage others do that before you tell a junior how to insert that image in the presentation. Focusing on your own work and actually finishing it will allow you to accomplish more in the same amount of time and go back home a bit lighter.
  3. It is not always good to help people. Let it be clear if you don’t help people around you at all you are a bad person. But if you help them so much that they can’t do anything without your help you have created a monster for yourself.
  4. You have to learn to turn off your job mind. There are people who rely on their jobs to define them. Let’s be fair most of them don’t really worry about early retirement. It is not the worst quality but seriously a job is one of the most likely things to go away without any notice. It is therefore stupid to carry stress from a fleeting thing into your private life. That being said we have been some of the top notch stupid people in that regard and we accept it. Does it require a kid at home to force you to think about more than your job or is a hobby enough or should you start a blog? Who knows, as long as you get out of your job both physically and mentally.

We have been working on ourselves and learning how to distance ourselves from our work and actually enjoy the time we have on our hands. LivingaFi’s blog is probably one of the best boosts you will need to realize you are not alone and there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Is there any work related story that you would like to share? Or maybe what drives you to FIRE?

5 thoughts on “How to not bring work home

  1. Well said, its all about how soon we learn and make up our mind to realize “it is just work”. To add your points on learning “never looks for perfection, it kills us slowly”. It may sound as disowning the work, but it is the reality we realize when we grow old and gain experience.

  2. I am enjoying reading your blog – do keep it up despite the difficulties in finding time to record your experiences! I am just over twice your age and am amazed at your wisdom and attitude. I wish I had your self-knowledge and your attitude to money when I was 30. I was so busy working late every day to impress my bosses (black people in the West [and no, I did not buy one of my bosses exclamation that I was Indian and not black!] need to work harder than white people) that I did not even raise my eyes above the parapet. All the best and I look forward to more from both of you.

    1. Thanks a ton. I tend to believe most people twice my age find our attitudes to be a problem but you give me hope. I used to be that person who would spend the lunch hour working and then spend extra hours in an effort to finish work. In one of my offices a senior person explained in detail how stupid I was. A few trials and I realized I was the fool and difference in compensation was negligible if at all between me and those who were ready to slave their lives away.
      I hear you on the race card and I strongly believe the same to be true for women. However we are both working hard to be able to work on our own terms.

  3. Yes, you are right that it is even more of an obstacle if you are an Indian woman in the West. This is why I admire my wife who has become an internationally known specialist in her field of longevity analysis/mortality statistics and works closely with the actuarial profession. For years I used to nag her and goad her into not letting her bosses steal her intellectual property and present papers using her analysis and it took something like 12-15 years before she became assertive and claimed all the credit she was due.

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