Most of my life I have tried to keep my work life and home life separate. As a working single mother, I felt that my role as mother and homemaker was my “real” life, unfortunately interrupted by 8 hours of office work each day.
I lived for the weekends. A pall hung over me every Sunday afternoon as I tried to slow the inexorable rush of time toward another work week.
My coworkers, with whom I spent most of my waking hours, were kept in the category of office friends. I never socialized with them off the job.
After a dozen years of that life I remarried. My new husband, a minister, was equally zealous in the separation of his professional and personal life. Socializing with folks from the church was “work” to him and over the years he discouraged me from entertaining all but non-church members in our home. My life was bounded by home and church, so there was very little socializing.
Now that I’m on my own again and once more back in an office full-time, circumstances have blurred the lines between personal and professional. My business email and even our financial software are web-based and accessible from anywhere with Internet access. The nature of my work is fairly demanding and being able to check in on office emails from home can give me a head start on the next week’s tasks.
Caring for my aged mother in my home means that I don’t have much time to make friends outside of work, so my coworkers are my main social network.
When I was ill recently and had to miss a few days of work, I kept in touch via email and even watched a training webinar from my bed.
Drifting off to sleep one night, a few days after returning to work, I had a minor epiphany as I realized how completely I have integrated my personal and professional life in recent years…and how much happier I am because of it. No more depressed Sunday afternoons or tense Monday mornings. I enjoy my work and have great friends there. We share our personal lives and rely on each other for emotional support.
This caused me to reflect on sermons I’ve heard about “Sunday Morning Christians” who keep their faith in the closet during the week and only brush it off and slip it on to meet with fellow Christians.
Integrating one’s faith into every aspect of one’s life is even more important than merging home and work. It’s all a matter of being authentic in every area of life.
One day I wore a new outfit to work that I had gotten for a presentation at a women’s ministries gathering. My friend, Kathy, commented on it and I quipped, “Thanks. I’m in my church-lady persona.” As soon as the words were out of my mouth I felt chastened. There is too much temptation in this world to wear a false front.
My friends at work know what I do in women’s ministries and why I do it. My friends in the ministry know of my professional work. Hopefully, each group sees the same “persona”.
Just Jonna. All the way through. All the time.