Permission To Switch Off Your Job

Are you always thinking about work? Never too far away from your phone or computer? Readily available to solve, coordinate or manage something? Do you believe that without your skills the organization will crumble or someone better will come along and replace you?

Then you are not alone.

Giving yourself permission to switch off at the end of a long work day can be tricky. Many people struggle to separate themselves from their job long enough to enjoy time for self and family. Common statements are, “Well if I don’t do it then it probably won’t get done” or “They expect me to handle these things, it’s the nature of the job” or ” I don’t mind. It will just take a few minutes and then I can take a break.”

We are all susceptible to becoming creatures of habit plagued by delusions of grandeur.

Our jobs can become our identity and our home is a cubical with air conditioning. Maybe we are lucky enough to have an office suite on the 20th floor of a building but likely haven’t taken in the scenery since the first day the work station was offered to us. Even as we ride transit or drive along in our cars we are still reachable to discuss business. We simply can’t (or won’t) turn off.

If you live and breathe work I suspect the only time you give yourself permission to step away from your job is when you’ve paid hundreds of dollars for an off-the-grid vacation or your doctor diagnoses you with a significant health problem. The vacation sounds nice but your doctors message doesn’t.

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If you think it is time to switch off your job maybe the following suggestion will help.

  1. Critically examine the consequences of always being available for work. Is this truly working for you or against you? Do others suffer as a result of your work schedule? If you don’t know the answer to that question then ask them.
  2. Find your voice and practice advocacy. There are many benefits to identifying your needs and speaking your truth. Sometimes our managers or colleagues are unaware of how much responsibility is being placed upon us and it is our job to communicate boundaries.
  3. Be realistic. Our fears about what will happen, if we are not available 24/7, are usually not based on fact.  When you are lying flat on your back in a hospital room there comes a sobering moment when you will realize the world goes on without you.
  4. If you can’t see what is possible beyond work then appoint someone who will show you the way and keep you in check. It is hard to switch off the brain and resist the urge to respond to the various tones that indicate someone is messaging you. You might need a sober buddy to assist you in your transition from work addict to leisure lover.

 

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