What is my relationship with my work?
What is my relationship with my work? How does that relationship reflect on other relationships in my life? Is there a direct correlation between your relationship with your work and your personal relationships? Does your relationship at work reflect your needs and values? Or have you mastered your relationship with work to ensure it is fair, mutually beneficial, supportive, trusting and helping you grow?
I had not ever really contemplated this concept until I made a transition out of corporate into being a coach and a counsellor. I knew there were some fundamental flaws in my relationship with corporate work but I assumed it was beneficial enough to be sustainable for a career lifetime. It turns out I was wrong. Hence the reason I made the change.
As I embarked on my personal growth phase of my life and reflected on my corporate career, I realised that there was some great things about my work relationship but there was also some unsteadiness and inequality.
My relationship with work for most of my corporate career was about making work #1. Work came first. It started out healthy enough but over the years it became an issue. I neglected my health, my family and friends but most of all I neglected my own personal growth. I had created a relationship with my work that in some form was abusive to the other important aspects of my life. I saw the rewards, the skills growth, the status and the sense of purpose as a fair exchange for putting my relationship with work first.
Not only had I elevated work in its relationship status to “The only thing you need”, I had also chosen to ignore the brewing issues in the relationship around fairness, disloyalty, distrust and misaligned values. I was blind to the exchange I was receiving in some of my workplaces and I would often justify it to myself. I would tell myself;
- My workload was only this high because I was capable and reliable and that makes me feel valued in this relationship.
- My autonomy was never quite given because I was young and a woman and I probably needed more experience and a more testosterone to be set free to lead and grow on my own.
- My reward was high enough; it was assumingly the same as the others and it was enough for me.
- All organisations have politics and if people don’t like me it is probably because I am passionate and challenge them on issues, not because they are petty and distrustful.
- Restructures have to happen for efficiency and cost savings for the shareholders, not because others have targeted you.
As I unpacked my corporate relationship, I realised I was personally deeply unhappy. My career was amazing and I loved the roles I was in. They were stimulating, challenging and fun but my soul needed some care and I wanted a personal life, I wanted a balanced calendar for my well-being and most of all I wanted a career where I had a healthy exchange of give and take. So here are the key things I that I know will make a healthy work relationship for me;
- A workload that is challenging, interesting and achievable.
- Autonomy, leadership and equality, without having to be aggressive, lean-in or be anyone other than myself.
- A fair and equal reward for my contribution.
- A place of work that values passionate discussions, innovation, challenges and creative thinking, from everyone.
- A place of work that was is focused on helping people grow and develop, if a restructure came, everyone feels supported and confident enough to leave respected and with hope.
By creating a more balanced relationship with my work now, I can be more rounded in all the other important aspects of my life. My family, my health, my purpose, my friends and my creativity. By making the decision to work with partners that I trust and who are fair, loyal, respectful and open to listening, I have been able to create a business that reflects my values and allows me to grow. Overall through lots of reflection and making better choices for my needs, I have started to create a much more fruitful, mutually beneficial relationship with my work. And as a result, I am so much better at my part and contribution to my other relationships.
If you would like to unpack your relationship with work or other parts of your life, please contact me today for a session.