It’s 2016. Welcome back to work. If you’re like me, you spent time with your families over the break.
In my life, nobody makes holiday cookies like my sister-in-law. She makes a particularly addictive oatmeal cookie, and I think her special ingredient is heroin. My mother-in-law does an amazing Christmas Day brunch with a favorite eggnog cake, and my brother-in-law is in charge of slicing the ham, which I don’t eat because that’s murder.
This year, I went to visit my mom. That was fun, too. I spent time with my brother, his girlfriend, and their kids. I do not want to be that weird aunt who latches on to children and expresses her maternal instincts via other people’s kids, but it’s too late. I love those kids.
Spending time with my family is okay. We have great moments. However, nobody pushes my buttons like my relatives, either. My brother and I fought about whether or not malware can infect a router.
Yes. Yes, we did.
Not only did we argue, but then I sent him a whole bunch of articles citing my thoughts on why I was getting pop-up ads while on my mom’s wifi network. I did that because I want to double-down on being a tenacious asshole.
My brother is like, “Laurie, please let this go.”
I’m like, “No, I picked this battle, and I will die on this hill.”
So when people say that work is like family, the word “like” should be emphasized. Work might remind you of family, and there’s a certain intimacy that emerges, but the bond is always temporary. And, honestly, that’s a glorious thing. Humans are only designed to have a limited number of unconditional, trusted, attached connections. If you commit your heart and your mind to more than a few, all relationships suffer.
Are you back at work and having fun catching up with your colleagues, today? Good for you. Jump back into the fray, listen to holiday horror stories, and pretend that you’re all excited about going to battle against your competitors. Alternatively, go back to work and make a big deal about nothing. Get your buttons pushed about all kinds of trivial stuff by your nemesis. That’s also fun in a weird way because the stakes are so small.
But then go home to your real family and enjoy how work is a distraction from life and life is a distraction from work. When you keep a healthy perspective about what matters in this world, you can appreciate both.