At some point, everyone hears that they shouldn’t take work personally. On the surface, this sounds perfectly reasonable. Afterall, you don’t want to get emotional in the work space. You don’t want it to hurt your feelings when someone quits your job. It isn’t a personal attack on you when your colleague fails to meet their deadlines.
But for many in these circumstances who are told not to take work personally, the idea can feel a bit crushing. It seems logical, so most will try to swallow it down. But there’s something wrong with the idea that we shouldn’t take work personally, and it’s worth taking a closer look at.
We spend a great deal of our time at our jobs for a large portion of our adult lives. That means a lot of our life is going to happen at work. If we aren’t taking anything that happens there personally and treating it all as “just business”, how engaged can we be in our days? Are we meant to be apathetic to all that happens?
The leaders of companies are people who’ve pushed through and broken boundaries. They are people who felt inspired and had an energy that drove them to make the decisions they made. Could they be that successful if they did not take work personally?
While we don’t all need to be leaders, it feels good to be engaged, active, and interested in your work.
That being said, it’s still important to manage your boundaries. You can’t let everything that happens hurt your feelings or for your work to invade your personal life. Having boundaries between your personal life and your work life is a healthy way to live.
But if nothing that happens at work matters, why are we even there? This type of thinking can also make it easy to brush off ethical issues. Why does it matter if there was fraud in the office place when it was “just business”?
Caring about our jobs makes us vulnerable, which makes us uncomfortable. If you’re safe in a comfort zone, you’ll never grow. Growth and development at work is what gets people promoted. It’s what drives a business forward and leads to innovative thinking. By being brave enough to care about your work and become uncomfortable and vulnerable you’ll be better at what you do at the end of the day.