On this episode of Work/Life, Ciara Pressler, author of Pregame and Game Plan, talks with DT’s Greg Nibler about how to remain authentic in your work without oversharing or overstepping personal boundaries in a way that might work against you in the long run.
The pandemic has blurred the lines between work life and home life for many of us, as a large number of people are now working remotely. But there still need to be boundaries about how you conduct your work at home, especially if you are using video chat for meetings. “You have to pay attention to what you are letting people see or not see,” Pressler says. “Of course, it’s not appropriate to show your bathroom or your bedroom. Make sure you’re creating as neutral of a space as possible, so people are paying attention to you versus your background.”
Regardless of whether you’re working remotely or in person, “there are still things about your personal life that don’t help your case for being valued as a member of your team,” Pressler says. For example, there may be personal reasons for missing work, but telling people the reason might not work in your favor. You are not required to let people know why you are using a personal day or missing work, and often telling people that reason may not be beneficial long-term.
Assuming other people feel the same way you do about politics, religion, or the state of the world is also a road fraught with peril. The same is true for your sense of humor; there are things that are not appropriate in the workspace, and sharing personal feelings or jokes can quickly backfire and cause unnecessary conflict. When you are at work, keep it professional.
Pressler gives some advice in navigating some of these areas. For one, she says, keep focused on the work. If you’re asking for a raise, it is better to ground your case in the value of your work in the marketplace. “You’ll then be making a fact-based argument, which is more powerful. And you’ll be valued more as a member of your team,” she says.
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