03 Mar Hiding Out at Work?
Modern day work environments are demanding. Your company may ask long hours. The boss might assign tasks that can’t be accomplished in 40 hours. Let’s face it, American work culture makes it really easy to avoid personal life by using work as an excuse. So, are you hiding out at work?
Do you find yourself frequently telling an annoyed partner, “Honey, I HAVE to work”? Guilty of the age-old favorite, “I’ll be done in just a few minutes”? Then, hours later an angry child scolds you for always working. If so, then you may be hiding out at work. It can be both, of course. But if you are honest with yourself, you may find that you’re avoiding family, friends, health, and/or chores with the excuse of work.
Avoiding Life with Work if you:
- answer work texts/emails after work, weekends, or when w/friends & family
- work at home after a full work-day
- have laptop open to work when watching TV with family
- stay at work after hours surfing the internet or social media sites
- go into the office or home office on the weekend
- avoid social engagements because you “have to work”
- work on vacation
- become easily bored with downtime or family activities
- work long after when other co-workers are gone
- are described first as a “hard worker” or “amazing work ethic”
Possible Reasons Why:
- Your relationship has become challenging or dull
- You don’t know how to interact with your kids
- Social engagements are anxiety producing
- An underlying fear or guilt about having fun or relaxing
- Don’t want to deal with household responsibilities
- You understand the structure of work as opposed to relationships
- Working hard results in praise from boss; kids and spouse are harder to please
- Need to make lifestyle changes such as exercise or eating
So now what? Admitting there’s a problem is a first step. Changing behavior is hard. Engaging in life, such as making changes in your relationship or your health involves uncomfortable feelings. Feelings like anxiety, conflict, and boredom. Yes, cleaning the house with the your partner can feel like drudgery. But is it really fair to check out and leave the boring stuff to someone else? It’s not. Plus, you’re missing out on so much good stuff. Vacation trips, milestones for your kids, love….stuff you can’t get back.
If you need help re-engaging, talk to your family and friends. Let them know you want to change. Set expectations at work. Let your team know that you’ll be cutting back a little. A therapist can help too. Call or email me to discuss how working together can help. Balancing between work and personal life is challenging and worth the effort. Trust me, I’ve been there.
Kate Murphy, LMSW
Kate Murphy, a therapist in Chamblee, GA, specializes in helping you decrease stress and anxiety. You can live a more balanced, connected, and meaningful life. Kate works with individuals and couples over the age of 18 to support healing, communicating, and experiencing joy more often.