Emotional investment in your work is a double-edged sword. Take care it doesn’t cut too deep
Your drive and passion propel you to succeed. However, being overly emotionally invested in your job can be a huge drain and burden to bear. So, how can you determine if you’re overly invested in your organisational role?
I’ve been very attached to my work recently, but there has been a realisation that you are more than your work, your job title, which has caused me to actively invest time in work and life after that. I used to take calls late at night, stay up late fixing things, and the day before any critical delivery was a nightmare; no longer will I let that happen to myself or anyone I know!
In the age of remote work and blurred boundaries, there’s less and less separation between the personal and professional. It’s no wonder, then, why our careers are such a defining aspect of our identities. While there’s typically nothing wrong with devoting yourself to your organisation’s success, problems arise when work controls your feelings and actions.
So how can you tell if you’re too emotionally invested in your work? Look for these signs that it’s time to pull back:
You do not interpret constructive comments as personal criticism
Constructive feedback can easily been understood as a criticism where you think the feedback given is a personal attack on you instead of the task done. There needs to be a thin line in knowing what is being said to you as feedback or a personal comment.
Work comes home with you
You want to give your 100% and stand out for the hours you put in. This is a typical mindset where you perceive the value derived to be equivalent to the number of hours put in at work. This is the worst thing you could do to yourself. Keep a work-life balance. Maintain sanity so you are your most productive when you are at work and most chilled out when away from it.
You’re not proving your dedication by always being “on” — rather, you’re undermining your success. Change your mindset to view decompression as a prerequisite for your performance, not a reward. Likewise, put in place habits to disconnect from work. This could include:
- Setting an alarm that prompts you to wrap up
- Completely powering down your devices so you avoid the temptation to log back in
- Writing your to-do list for the next day, or choosing another transition ritual to ease into downtime
You enjoy pleasing others
Even if your work speaks for itself, there is a tendency for any of us to fall into that uniquely human trait of trying to please others. However, understand that being a people-pleaser can often work to your detriment, since it only adds to your workload to keep the people around you happy rather than working on the job at hand.
Your work title is your identity
Research on how mindsets can influence workers’ performance includes a few of the below observations. If you think this is you, please pause and reflect!
• “I need others to like me and think I’m smart.”
• “I constantly compare myself with others to determine my value.”
• “I have to be perfect in everything I do.”
• “My self-concept is based on how well I can control people and outcomes.”
Keep in mind that you are more than your work
There is a notion known as self-complexity. It implies that your identity has many facets, and studies indicate that exploring them can help you cope better with experiences such as failure, stress, or depression. It is critical to embrace and value other responsibilities in your life, such as your relationships and hobbies. Schedule time to catch up with an old friend (seriously, write it on your calendar), learn more about photography or any other hobby of your choice, or finally pick up that second language you’ve been meaning to learn. The ability to detach emotionally from your job can help you improve at both living and working.