emotional detachment

On the back of a few bad days at work, I’m very much aware of how little difference there is between the work ‘me’ and the non-work ‘me’.

There are people at work who I’m sure are human, somewhere deep inside. Buried under the slopey-shoulders, the ‘business benefits’ and the ‘process’, there must exist thinking, breathing, feeling souls?

So why do I feel like I’m often the only one screaming at the top of their voice “this isn’t right”, “this isn’t fair“, “people deserve better than this”? Have I really got to grow-up and grow a pair to take on the world of work? Or does being cold and detached, unable to empathise and unable to do the right thing – diminish us all?

Maybe I’m just being childish, still being held hostage to my emotions. Maybe those who put on their ‘game face‘ and play the role of the workplace adult are merely guarding themselves against hurt and rejection.

My emotions run close to the skin, I’m aware of that. I take everything way too personally, I’m aware of that too. And yet, I spend 40 hours+ a week at work. I think about work issues in the evenings, at weekends. I believe strongly that the work I do can be a force for good, a force for change. My work – my job, sad as it may seem – in part defines me.

So why shouldn’t something that goes wrong at work be something that hurts? Why shouldn’t a rejection or alteration to my designs be a criticism of me? My work comes from the heart, it is an extension of myself.

The political and business landscape of my employer has changed so much in the last few years, that I no longer recognise it. That either means it’s all wrong, or I’m a relic of a bygone age.

Shape up or ship out as they say.

And I’m thinking about home
And I’m thinking about faith
And I’m thinking about work
And I’m thinking
How good it would be
To be here some day
On a ship called Dignity

Deacon Blue, Dignity

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Captain caveman on April 28th 2010 at 3:11 pm

    To do is to be… or so said Socrates or one of those other Greek long beards. There are 168 hours in a week so we spend 23.8% of our time at work. Perhaps it should be the stuff we do in the remaining 76.2% that defines us?.


    I think it was Oscar who said that work is the curse of the drinking classes.


    • True, true.

      And yet, how can you take pride in your work, and not take the bad bits to heart? To take pride in your work requires a connection, a relationship and involvement with the work you do. Therefore you have to take the rough with the smooth, no?


  2. I was like you when I was able to work – I took some things hard, too, and had trouble leaving it at the door (as my husband once advised me to do.) I don’t know why some of us have more trouble with that than others.

    You said “My work – my job, sad as it may seem – in part defines me.” I can understand that, and attest to it being one of the hardest parts of coming to terms with being too ill to hold a job – finding out who we are without that work definition.

    Wishing you all good things.


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