Point Lookout: a free weekly publication of Chaco Canyon Consulting
Volume 4, Issue 50;   December 15, 2004: Totally at Home

Totally at Home

by

Getting home from work is far more than a question of transportation. What can we do to come home totally — to move not only our bodies, but our minds and our spirits from work to home?

"Not now, I said!" Eileen regretted her words as soon as she heard herself speak them. Her words, her tone and especially her anger. But the damage was done. Little Randy had already run out of the kitchen and off to his room. She followed, not knowing exactly how she would apologize, or whether it would do any good.

Respectfully, she knocked at his door. "Randy, can I come in to say I'm sorry?"

"OK," he replied.

She opened the door and entered. His room, of course, was a disaster. He was lying on his bed, on his left side, his back to her. She sat down on the edge of his bed and put her hand on his shoulder.

A pair of kayakers"I'm sorry," she began. "I had a rough day today."

He turned toward her. "I can always tell," he said, with that four-year-old wisdom that so many of us lose by age five. Randy was still wise.

If you've had a "rough day" at work — conflict, abuse, or worse — bringing it home by stuffing it down inside is almost sure to fail. You probably won't be fully available to the people you love at home, and you might even end up in destructive conflict with them.

Merely making the physical journey doesn't bring your full Self home from work. Here are some things you can you do to help yourself — your whole Self — come home.

If you've had a rough day
at work, stuffing it down
is almost sure to fail
Make a date
If you have trouble at work, talk to someone about it. People at home might be able to help, but there are lots of alternatives — a coach, a cleric, a therapist, a mentor, a colleague. Making a date to talk helps you set your cares aside.
Change your shoes
Begin the process of going home by changing to your homeward-bound shoes. Never let your work shoes enter your home on your feet.
Take a breath
Whether it's before you start your car, or just as you get aboard your train, limo, or kayak, pause and take a long slow breath. Breathe in, and then breathe out that last wisp of "work air."
Smile at three people on the way home
Find three people you can smile at on your way home — a co-worker, the lobby guard, the cab driver…whoever. If three is too easy for you, push it and find your limit.
Travel with someone who works somewhere else
Commuting alone, we stew in our own juices. Better to travel with another. Even better if that other doesn't work where you do.

When you get home, there's one thing more to do, and it's magic. Hug everyone in sight. Twice.

If you have an office at home, as I do, drawing a bright, clear boundary between work and home is difficult. But as you make the transition, you can still pause — and you can still breathe. Well, I'm done for now. Time for me to breathe. Go to top Top  Next issue: When You Can't Even Think About It  Next Issue

Reader Comments
Peter J. Westerhof
Nice, but I miss one. When coming home, take a shower and let everything wash away. I'm so used to it that I don't feel really home if I haven't showered first.

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More articles on Emotions at Work:

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If you're a manager in a project-oriented organization, you need to know the full, unvarnished Truth. When you kill a messenger, you deliver a message of your own: Tell me the Truth at your peril. Killing messengers has such predictable results that you have to question any report you receive — good news or bad.
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Many The Power Affect: How We Express Personal Powerpeople who possess real organizational power have a characteristic demeanor. It's the way they project their presence. I call this the power affect. Some people — call them power pretenders — adopt the power affect well before they attain significant organizational power. Unfortunately for their colleagues, and for their organizations, power pretenders can attain organizational power out of proportion to their merit or abilities. Understanding the power affect is therefore important for anyone who aims to attain power, or anyone who works with power pretenders. Read more about this program. Here are some upcoming dates for this program:

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The Race to the South Pole: Ten Lessons for Project Managers
On 14The Race to the Pole: Ten Lessons for Project Managers December 1911, four men led by Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole. Thirty-five days later, Robert F. Scott and four others followed. Amundsen had won the race to the pole. Amundsen's party returned to base on 26 January 1912. Scott's party perished. As historical drama, why this happened is interesting enough, but to organizational leaders, business analysts, project sponsors, and project managers, the story is fascinating. Lessons abound. Read more about this program. Here's an upcoming date for this program:

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