Your Work, Your Family
Stress is big trouble in all our lives. It seems to me that we can handle stress at work or home but not both. Life being what it is, stress seems to jump from one to the other and seldom sits still. At home, family can help us cope with stress. Does a work family do the same thing?
Many employees have told me, “We’re like family here. We help each other all the time.” This makes sense, if we admit to not being able to hide ourselves for very long. Not many of us can completely hide emotional pain, and we need each other to cope with stress. We all understand that things happen beyond our control, inside or outside work’s doors.
I’ve seen people support each other through child troubles, illness, cancer, family deaths, and marital troubles. It’s hard not to be emotionally attached to people who share these kinds of problems, and this kind of involvement naturally makes them important. Doubtless most of these individuals have family at home, but life doesn’t just stop happening at the doors to the laboratory. A “work family” can be just as important.
Maybe it’s the man in me, but I wonder.
Becoming emotionally vested in a workplace and dependent on the support of coworkers who are otherwise strangers is a choice that some will not take. The alternative is to view work as work, a means to an end and nothing more. It’s just as healthy to see our problems as unwanted invasions into the emotional worlds of others and keep our private lives private. Most of us understand when someone makes this choice.
Thus, one might choose to say nothing, take time off, seek counseling outside the laboratory, and maintain a poker face. Chances are, he or she has a few close confidants at work to talk with, and aside from a few outward tells of stress no one is the wiser. I doubt this kind of person sees work as family.
How about you? Is your work and family different, or is work a second family?
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