In an effort to understand how work-life affects society, it makes sense to begin by studying individual work experiences. I recently wrote an introduction on the topic of Occupational Health Psychology (OHP), which concerns the application of psychology to improving the quality of work life and to protecting and promoting the safety, health and well-being of workers.
To that end, I invite anyone to share how their work life affects his or her home life and possibly even society to some extent. I’m looking for that domino effect. Example: A man in his mid-thirties is the director of a marketing department and has 4 designers to manage. Usually, the designers, despite being very talented, test his authority and judgment. This does not bode well for the marketing director who is usually laid-back and somewhat lenient with company policies. The man goes home in the evening to his wife and 3 small children and tries to tell her how he feels about the situation at work. She is trying to listen, but dinner is bubbling on the stove and the kids are running around laughing and screaming in the background. An argument ensues, because the man does not understand why the wife cannot give him full attention. She tries to convince him to talk later when the kids are in bed, but he is acting too irrational to listen to reason. The man yells at the kids to shut-up and he storms out to go to the local watering hole to get drunk.
What’s going on here? The marketing director is obviously taking out his problems at work on his family (projection). He’s frustrated and doesn’t foresee how his reactions to his situation are hurting his family. If his frustrations and reactions continue to hurt his family, there could be consequences up the road. Not knowing all the circumstances at his job, he may be stuck in a position with no support from his superiors, and is not in a position to jump ship. In the meantime, his loved ones are suffering. What should he do?
Another example is pay. A woman in her mid-forties, working as an administrative assistant and supporting her teenage son and daughter thinks, “I can’t take this anymore. I’m barely making ends meet! Boy, if I didn’t have to worry about my debts due to making low wages, I’d probably be more active in our community or give more to our parish, but how am I even going to help my kids go to college? Guess they’re on their own. I can’t help. I guess I have to be grateful that I even have a job these days. I’m so depressed.” What should this woman do?
Do these scenarios sound familiar? What if you could wave a magic wand and fix these scenarios to happy endings? Can it be done?
Write to me if you have a success story or want to share your work-life dilemma. I look forward to hearing from you.