Thursday, August 16, 2007


Occasionally, one is faced with a moderate to intense personal situation--emotional, interpersonal, medical or what have you-- at work. Everyone has his or her own coping mechanism, but I'm intrigued by the different work ethics or philosophies used to address these "personal" or "private" troubles while at work.

I've come to this question a few times in my "professional" career. (I don't know what other sorts of careers I've had; I don't think my high school fast food experience counts as a career move, at least I hope not...At any rate, the question:) But is there a correct way to deal with a personal problem while at work?

There are many perspectives from which to approach this question. Here's the lay of the personal trauma land:

Control Freak
To this person, any evidence of a problem at home could be construed as a side of weakness. You must, as always, maintain constant vigilance in warding of second-guessers and other forms of critique.

Check it at the Door!
For whatever reason, this person was taught that emotions don't belong at work. So while you're thinking about your dog that just died or your mother who is sick or whatever could be bothering you, you should, regardless of how worried or concerned you are, check it at the door.

Emotional, so What?
This is the guy or girl that would be crying at her desk, unabashedly. Perhaps after whimpering for a bit, once people had noticed, he might remove himself from his cube and go to the bathroom or outside for some fresh air. But the mentality here is, life is. You get emotional and deal however you need to--and who cares about everyone else?

Combination Treatment
Combo literally goes through the stages of emotional distress, and everyone listed herein, dealing with a stressful, emotional situation. Combo is in limbo, emotionally and egocentrically unsure. This person wonders, "Is it alright for me to feel this way?" Then momentarily encompasses the control freak, or emotional, so what. Difficult to predict this one, but usually the course of thinking, though not action, will be the same.

Did I forget anyone? How do you manage your emotions at work?

1 comment:

Sandy said...

I normally think that it's more professional, depending on the gravity of the situation, to let people around you know that something is going on. Unless, I'm confident that I won't show any evidence of concern, fear or whatever, I usually will tell at least one or two people around me. Just so someone knows.

Frankly, it seems more professional to know your limits regarding emotional circumstances. Knowing when to say something to those around you is important.