Friday, April 4, 2008

What Happens At Work...

I want to start this post be reiterating that this blog is not an attempt to point out differences between men and women. I'm pretty sure that John Gray has that niche covered with his planetary contrasts. With that disclaimer in mind, there is one difference that I have to point out:

My wife cries at work. Frequently. Her female coworkers also cry at work. They cry alone. They cry with each other. They cry at home when thinking about work. I don't cry at work. Never have. I assume I probably would if I got fired or shot or something like that, but I can't think of too many other work situations that would bring me to tears. I think it has something to do with a difference of philosophy in how work is a part of life.

I care about work. Working hard and doing a good job is a means to do what I want to do in the future - not work. Also, I've found that doing a good job at work leads to fewer awkward work situations than if you slack off or mess up at work. These are good reasons to care about your job.

The difference is that I see work as an 8-10 hour play with daily performances. I'm not myself at work. If I was myself, I'd wear pajama pants and drink beer and watch sports. Clearly, this would lead to more awkward work situations. So I play a role everyday in this work play. There's no real script, so I guess it's like the longest episode of "Whose Line is it Anyway" with less singing. That said, since it's the same play everyday, I think my performance does improve over time. With this approach to work, I also assume that my coworkers are clients are also acting. When you spend time with coworkers outside of work, do they behave the same way that they do in the office? If not, then they're probably acting when in the office. Either that or they have multiple personalities.

Taking this acting approach with your jobs makes it easier to dismiss work drama and difficult personalities. If someone is mean to me at work or if it is a difficult client, that's just the role that they're playing on that day. Once shooting wraps for the day, you leave the set, get out of character, and don't really think about it until the next day.

My wife is the same person at work that she is at home. This does have some benefits (especially for her coworkers) because she's a really, really good person. The downside is that there's no way for her to distance her home self from her work self. What this means is that I hear about her job when she gets home. I don't really mind that. Sometimes the stories are interesting. I just think that her approach leads to thinking and talking about work well after work is over for the day. Not a big fan of that.

So next time someone is annoying or mean at work, try to think of it as an acting gig. Your coworker is playing the role of "Annoying Coworker #1" and you're playing the role of "(Wo)man Who Doesn't Take it Personally" Just avoid using a fake British accent. Those are annoying whether you're acting or not.


Pisces75 said...

For the record I don't cry at work, and I don't cry about work outside of work. I like the thought of the work day as a play. I shall strive for a Tony.
-Work Boo

Anonymous said...

Is it appropriate for a teacher to cry at work? What if the students make the teacher cry? Is it okay to cry when they steal my lunch money?

Jessica said...

My fake British accent is awesome. I resent that statement.