The Personal is NOT the Professional

By now it’s no secret that I work for my mother.

That’s right. I see, speak to and take work direction from my mom on a daily basis. When people hear this, the most comment reaction is “I don’t know how you do it. I could never work with my family.” For me, it’s a piece of cake. First of all, despite our age gap, she’s pretty cool. More importantly, here’s why: the personal is NOT the professional.

At my first job out of college, my boss had a terrible personality but good business sense (think The Devil Wears Prada). While I didn’t want to emulate her lousy people skills, I did see an opportunity to learn. From day one, the experience working for her instilled in me that it’s absolutely critical to keep your personal life out of business. That doesn’t mean that you have to limit interactions with coworkers or avoid company events. However it does mean that your boss is not your friend so don’t friend your boss on Facebook. Or Twitter, which I think by now we all know that can come back to haunt you.

Furthermore, I learned that work life is not social life. Your coworkers are not your family (unless like me, they actually are). Work is what you do to support your lifestyle and make the most of your talents. Your colleagues are there for the same basic reason that you are: a paycheck. Sure, you can strike up a conversation around the watercooler or go out for the occasional happy hour on Friday but at the end of the day, we all need to prioritize when to leave our work life behind. I see so many people neglecting to build connections with people outside of work. Gone are the days of taking a class, joining a gym or networking for the sake of making friends. Too much reliance on your job as your social life makes Jack a dull boy.

Keep your game face on, your head down and I implore you, don’t pass out drunk in front of your place of work. The personal is not the professional.