Let me begin by stating that I am a very private person. My thought process with this article began when a colleague was discussing a matter with me, and ended it by saying, ‘I really want to meet your family, especially your husband.’
It made me wonder, why would you want to meet them? I don’t discuss family in the office nor do I have pictures of them hanging all over the place, therefore why would you want to meet them?
What is this type of curiosity that makes people want to find out more about you? I have noted that this tends to happen a lot in the office. Not too long ago, I used to know an individual that worked with us and she would come strutting into the office every morning, saying hi to everyone, and when asked how she was then she would go into details of her personal life, what she did, who’s she dating, what she will do, etc.. After that, she’ll stare at you expecting you to share the same type of info that she had shared.
My rule is that if you’re not asked, then you don’t share. And if you’re asked, you share as little as possible.
The triangle above represents my world. Each part of the triangle has its own rules and regulations, but the most important rule is that it doesn’t collide. There are certain things that you just don’t mix.
The people I know at work will only know me between my working hours, my friends have their own time, whereas my family will ALWAYS have my time. Each side of the triangle gives you that peace of mind that you look for when needing it.
The need to get personal at work never sat well with me, and never will. Regardless of how long during the day you spend with your colleagues, there is always a good reason to be private about your personal life. I don’t mind sharing the basics, like how many siblings I have, where did I went to school, etc… but I do not need to share that I have argued with my friend today, decided to do something new, fell ill, disliked a person, etc…
Sharing with colleagues can be lethal at times. For example, a friend confided in me once that she made the biggest mistake of her life when she confided in her colleague about a private matter. That colleague took her confidence, shared it with their boss while adding negative remarks which ended up compromising her promotion. You never know what the other side is thinking, therefore you can never allow for the worlds to collide.
Another incident I can share is when once a friend fell ill for a few weeks and she had to take an unexpected leave for 4 weeks. She was so ill, depressed and couldn’t move that her family members would force her out sometimes. Coincidentally, when she was out once, her colleague called her checking up on her and when she told her that she was out. She kept asking her lots of questions, and demanding why she was out, and pretending to be ill when she’s working her butt off! Needless to say, my friend never got her promotion that year while the colleague did, although they had both done the exact amount of work that they were supposed to.
Each side has its own rules as mentioned before and with each person sitting in that world they have their own agendas and schemes. Regardless of how well you know that person, how much you can trust them you still better be safe and not involve yourself fully with them when it comes to personal stuff.
I believe a lot of my readers might take this article as me being negative, but I’m not trying to be negative at all. I’m talking about facts, and based my analysis on research and personal experience that I have been involved with. Therefore, I hope the best for all, and would love to hear more-real life examples if your worlds ever collided.
Fatma (Fay), Emirati girl, with an experience in Corporate Communications and CSR. She is passionate about anything that is traditional and Emirati. In her free time she loves to watch Japanese anime, read manga, and play videogames. Spas are not the only thing that relaxes her, but cooking as well.
Fay’s columns observe work-life experiences and balance. A lot of her articles are based on first-hand personal experiences and issues she has seen or been part of. She loves to observe her surroundings, and watch how people handle different situations they’ve been put in.Also, she is trying to balance the art of staying positive at work and helping her peers understand that not everything should be a problem. With her writings she hopes to make a difference and make people more observant of the little problems in life, or work that hasn’t escalated to a catastrophe. It’s the little things that matters.