It’s important to know where the boundaries are at work just like you know when you need to stay within your driving lane. Blurring the lines at work may get you into more trouble than trying to switch lanes during rush hour. We all want to be liked, wanted, needed, respected and admired but at what cost? When you think by making friends with the assistant to the CEO you will get you any further along in your career than if you were to stay focused and work hard at what you are doing – you’ve now got “blurred lines.”
You know when you’ve crossed the line in your career when you are more motivated by what people think or say about you vs. how well you perform in your job. Your accomplishments at work should be measured by your job performance and not your personal performance. Yes “kissing ass” may make you friends in high places but at what cost to your career and more importantly to your self-esteem? Knowing who you are and what you stand for helps you keep your work intentions focused even when the lines seem to come together.
It may be hard to know where the lines are blurred when your work life becomes your social life. Working late is great but when you do it because you have no place else to be the lines are starting to get fuzzy. Having boundaries with balance is a way to measure your progress in keeping your work life and personal life separate. If your only friends are those from work you are definitely putting all of your eggs in one basket. Finding your self in the middle of work/personal drama is not the way to ensure your success in your career. It’s okay to make friends at work but remember your job comes first and your personal life needs to take a back seat if it begins to interfere with getting your work done. Here are a few signs that you are blurring your work lines:
- Texting your friends at work when you should be completing a project for your boss;
- Making plans on the weekends and after work inviting some but not all of your co-workers and creating your “work clique”;
- Dishing the dirt about your boss or other co-workers because you feel the need to “share” and have no one else to complain to;
- Buying gifts or treating your work friends because you want to be seen as a leader when all you really need is to be liked;
- Covering up for someone’s mistakes at work to protect your friendship vs. manage your “work-ship.”
Finding the right balance between your position and what you hope to accomplish in your career and that of being the most popular person in the room is never easy. We all want to be liked and admired for who we are as a person vs. what we do at work. There comes a point when you have to decide if it’s more important for you to be liked or respected. You are going to be put in positions that are challenging and where you are called on to make tough decisions that may have an impact on some of your work “friends.” You can’t allow your personal ties to interfere with your professional ones.
Knowing how to balance your relationships at work from your personal life is the difference between being a mature leader from someone who is seen as wanting to be the life of the party. When it comes to keeping your personal life and your professional life on equal footing, learning how not to blur the lines will make it easier for you to successfully move away from the drama you create towards seeking a more peaceful and productive work life.
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