The fix is in, at least according to a piece in the Guardian entitled “If you only do one thing this week, stop talking about work at home.” So simple. And yet.
From the piece:
Sharing your working life with your partner can give you perspective, reassurance and a chance to offload, but banging on and on and on about the minutiae long after the working day is over can be counter productive.
When Cancer Research UK looked into modern relationships last year it found that 28% of us spent less than three hours with our partners each day, and that one in eight of us spent less than 10% of our time together conversing. So do you really want those precious conversations to be about the knackered photocopier?
Knackered. Doesn’t it make you wish you were a Brit? But apart from the envious slang, such a good point. Why do we bring work home? Either literally, watching a UCLA game with a stack of work in your lap to do in between plays (oops, did I type that out loud?) or figuratively, letting yammering about work suck the air out of the room, until you’re the only one left in it.
We’re acting like the boys.
Maybe we need the validation. Generationally new to this power world of work, do we need to prove that we’re one of the boys? To identify ourselves with what we do — and bring it all home? Our male counterparts have done this for years. And the outcome? Not so great.
But back to the Guardian piece:
The trick is in accepting that we need to talk about work while learning to restrict the time we spend doing so. Switching off after hours is an important part of dealing with the stresses, strains and everyday irritations the workplace imposes on us. If the spectre of your annoying boss looms over your kitchen table just as he or she does your office desk then what’s the point in going home?
See, I think this is how we women can get it right. Embrace our differences, as Shannon pointed out yesterday. Realize that we are more than what we do. Smugly smile and note, as we stretch out after work, that kicking our pumps to the floor is one more sign that we as a gender have the capacity to get it right. Call it evolved.
Years back, I did a long magazine piece on the 60s hippie icon, Wavy Gravy. (The piece is so old, I can’t find a link.) You may remember him — apart from the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor — as the Clown Prince and Head of Security at Woodstock, famous for the line: “What we have in mind is breakfast in bed for 400,000.” I profiled him in the late 80s, when he was living in a commune in Berkeley and up to his ears running a number of charities and non-profits, which took up all his waking hours.
At one point, I interviewed his wife, Jahanara, who said, somewhat ruefully, “Sometimes, you just want to play cards.”
Sometimes, you should.