by Lin Mukhi, FPM
Come home to what? Most of us would say “I come home to my family”. Some people would say “I come home to my dogs” or “I come home to my plants”. But, come home to a job?
When you have that sense of conviction that you are where you are want to be, there is a sense of coming home. Things don’t need to be perfect, but you have a sense of peace that this is your place of contribution.
After running the stretch of three bases on the field, the baseball player makes it to the home plate. Tired, lungs bursting for air, probably scratched and bruised, but home. The running is finished. He is home. The effort he made brought him to the place where he needed to be. This mental image can apply also to how you view your workplace.
When your job is part of celebrating your life, you can say I come to my job. Isn’t that something that we all yearn for? A job where our talents are best used. Where we are supported and recognized. Although most of us start out just wanting to earn a living, at some point the aspiration becomes more. It becomes a longing for a sense of accomplishment. Of being able to actualize all that we can be, to the extent that we can say we have lived fully. This a continuing sense of restlessness that is in a good way directed towards seeking to better ourselves and the environment we impact.
More than being an advocate of work-life balance, my pitch is for integration. Work-life balance is very much like juggling two lives – your work and your life outside your job. That’s why some people live compartmentalized lives. Some even go to the extreme of not sharing about their family life probably for reasons such as fear of gossip, having the information used against them or wanting to appear remote, untouchable, too important and too busy for life beyond work. Some quip “I have a life that isn’t in this place and my job just doesn’t really matter.” They have given up on making meaningful sense of their work.
The integrated person simply says, “I have a life.” That life is composed of your job, your relationships, interests, avenues for self-expression and fulfilment of potential. When you achieve integration, the joyous statement is “I celebrate life!” You’ve come home to yourself; the life God gave you, the family who loves you and the job by which you manifest your capabilities for contribution.
Achieving this kind of integration means you don’t track with an obsessive mentality the hours you give to work versus the hours for the rest of your life. All are hours spent for building and celebrating your life. It’s a process that evolves from one level to the next. So you simply strive to keep moving forward seeking to be able to say with honest conviction statements such as :
My work inspires and excites me.
I work in the company of people with whom I share my passion.
I make a difference with my presence.
I express my complete self and live my personal mission in my workplace.
At this point in my life, this workplace is where I belong.
This kind of thinking drives me to maintain my ideals inspite of the negativity, darkness and downright low punches I’ve taken from some colleagues and bosses through the years of building my career. I choose to dwell instead on the experiences of kindness and support I have observed and experienced, some of which have come from very simple, young co-workers who are just starting out in their careers. Decency and professionalism are qualities that mark those who live with a sense of integration.
Traditional thinking says a job is a set of tasks you do at a certain location from eight in the morning to five in the afternoon. And so we compete on the road during rush hours to get to work or home on time. Graveyard shifts may seem like a curse. But with a shift in mindset, those who work in the evenings can experience the beauty of waking up to a sunset, commute to work on a cool evening drive and enjoy the mid-shift break gazing at stars. It’s a matter of perspective so that instead of struggling with the situation, you come to terms with how to build an integrated life with what you have.
Make peace with the imperfections around you at work. Do your best to see how you can make a difficult situation a source of growth. Come home to your job. Home does not need to be perfect.
Lin Mukhi is Vice President – Human Resources of Philippine Investment Management (PHINMA) Inc. She is also 2019 PMAP Board Trustee in charge of CEO-CHRO Collaboration and the Branding and Marketing Committee. More about Lin on https://www.linkedin.com/in/linmukhi.