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Workplace Ethics #7 Balance Work & Fun

With colleagues in Jinja
This morning on my way to work, I happened to bypass a familiar face of a lady who I used to know back in the day. At first I thought she was just walking and then I realized she was actually mad. On second look, I realized she was half dressed in miss matched clothes and was walking bare footed. My heart sank and I pondered what could have driven her to that point. I was interrupted by the remarks of a motorcyclist who according to his assessment women run mad because they carry too many responsibilities and fail to balance. No doubt he had a point and yet there is more to every situation than what meets the eye.

We have heard it over and over that work without play makes us dull yet we continue to ignore this vital piece of advice. Some of us are prone to take life more seriously than others by virtue of our personality types. I am a fun loving person yet I still struggle to find that balance in my work. I tend to take my work a little too serious some times because it seems like a matter of life and death. Well if you are in the business of impacting people’s lives then it is a matter of life and death.

Every workplace has its own patterns and as a newbie you are expected to jump onto the wagon and join the party. The point is knowing exactly when to jump in and when to hold back. Part of work place celebration patterns can include birthday parties, showers, lunch breaks, evening walks or happy hours. It is important to first of all know what is compulsory and what is optional. Compulsory norms should be on top of your priority list for things to do so you avoid being caught off side.

That withstanding, some workplace norms are not compulsory yet they greatly determine how fast you blend in with the rest of the team. It could be simple things such as getting off your desk to share meals with the rest of the team or hanging out a bit with the guys after work even if you don’t drink to just offer moral support. You will have to draw your own lines when it comes to this class of activities but don’t be too uptight simply because they don’t appeal to you.

The interesting thing about these non official activities is the rapport and bonds it builds in the team. Certain things may not be specified in your job description yet they are the unspoken rules of the workplace environment in which you are. Be open to invitations because that is the only way you will get to know what binds the rest of the team. We all know how hard it is to invite a newbie who happens to be up tight and how uncomfortable they can make the rest of the team feel when invited. You certainly don’t want to be that kind of person so loosen up.

Anything blown out of proportion will soon lose meaning and the same applies to having fun in the workplace. Simply because you are invited to be part of a fun activity does not mean you totally lose a hold of yourself. Exercise a level constrain as you interact with your colleagues knowing that it is still a formal environment even when it offsite such as a bar or night club. Be mindful of the fact that some of these people are your supervisors and they are still forming an impression of you. Keep up a formal image even as you have fun.

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  1. I like this article. I am one who keeps busy and fails to make time for play but after reading this i am surely exercising my right to fun. Thanxs Noeline