Isn’t Taking the Profession Home Enough?

During the last couple of weeks, I’ve been battling various mindsets that have been on my mental horizon about “taking the job home.”

This stereotyping article: Attracting the twentysomething worker caught my eye via one of my listservs. Perhaps it is a “sign of my generation”–even as I tend to identify more as a Gen X than a Gen Y (depends on where you divide that line)–but I’m offended by it. The author describes outlandish and irresponsible Mama’s boys and girls. Gen Y is apparently entirely made up of people unable to function as adults, unwilling to cut the apron strings, and focused entirely on group think. With nearly four years of “living on my own” under my belt and sharing an apartment with a girl who has nearly seven years–I think there are at least a couple of us not still at home. Do I rely on my mom for advice, encouragement, and a shoulder to cry on? Absolutely. Would I ask her opinion before making a job decision? Probably. Do I take her with me on an interview? NO!

One of the few points I liked about the article was the separation of work/home life that seems to be becoming more and more prevalent. Personally, I see it as recapturing ourselves away from our jobs. Considering it already takes 50-60 hours of my week, I have a bit of a problem with the expectation of it taking 80-90. And according to my Gen X/Y (depending on the article/government determination/etc etc) sibling, this rationale makes me a product of my generation. We want to go home without taking the job with us.

Some articles and other postings that I have seen on listservs suggest that an attitude such as this (not being at work 24/7) means that a worker is unmotivated and will not succeed in the workplace. I see it as a difference between the job being a major part of my life and being all of my life. I participate in listservs, catch up on my blogs and do what professional development I can when I’m at home–mostly because I’m not allocated any time to do this at work. I know others who only respond to listservs or read RSS feeds that are “library-related” at work so that they have time away from it. Are they not involved? No, they just have a different perception on when they need to stop “library stuff” for the day.

I think I surprised/confused a coworker by bluntly stating that I didn’t like taking things home with me. I’ll work late or come in early to finish up a project as necessary, but I believe work should stay at work and not follow me home to tire me out there. While, to me, my profession and professional development don’t shut off–my “job” can. I think it makes me a better worker when it’s not following me around all the time.

Whether or not I am in a majority opinion remains to be seen.