We tend to make more mistakes at work than we would at home. Have you ever wondered why? The answer is simple – at home we feel ‘at home’ and at work, we feel like we’re aboard an alien spacecraft which is extremely different in terms of its environment, culture, behaviour, attitude, conversations, and convenience. The last point, convenience, is something that we do not associate much with work. Sure, most people are good at what they do, but that can be marginally or completely different from how they feel about their workplace.
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The key to uniting ‘work’ with ‘workplace’ is the introduction of familiarity – solutions, memorabilia, or general utilities that you naturally associate with a feeling of ease, coherence, and profound recognition. Once this bridge is built, you will find yourself to be more you and less of a confused or out-of-place enigma trapped within the confines of your own cubicle. In this sense, this article is for everyone to write because each of us will bring in our own tender weapons of self-defence to work – from a toy, to a song, to an empty notepad, and a busy pen. But in order to get you started, to help you be you at work, here is a list of four suggestions that can open the door to your favourite corner at home from your work desk.
The kerchief/pen/stone that has been with you forever
People have often called them their lucky charm and, either out of weedy superstition or pure belief, have held onto items like a pen, even a scrap of paper for as long as they can remember. Psychologically, this affirms your faith in yourself – an attribute that we either consider insignificant or all too often forget.
A photograph of your favourite person in the world
Now that doesn’t have to be your mum or sister. It could be your dog, or someone who has inspired you with their strength through their song, poetry, essay, novel, sportsman spirit, or sheer genius. This person/thing has to be chosen with utmost care because the association that you expect to form with them through their photograph is not of nostalgia or fragile courage but of true grit and self-respect. At work, things are more political, hierarchical, and demanding than you can imagine. Photographs that can incite positive emotions will help in bring in the much evasive humanity to you and eventually to your workplace.
A notebook and a pen
Let the empty pages and the deep blue ink be your enduring sanctuary – whether you are in the wooden cell of a conference room, the intolerable office loo, or at your humble desk. You don’t have to be a writer or a painter to have page and pen by your side. These tools do not belong to any single category of people but to the whole race. You can doodle, vent stress, write things you cannot otherwise say out loud, or express emotions that are tying you down in your notebook. This will help you empty your mind, see things from a higher perspective, and take the right action, too.
Rubber bands + compact umbrella + hand sanitiser + Wad of tissues
These four things, unimportant at first can be the thin line of division between you and panic. A sudden evening shower or an unexpected meeting with the chief or an impromptu office lunch can trigger your stress buttons if you fail to find these ‘four little things’ in your drawer.
At this point, the one thing you need to understand and remember is that this is not to make you fall in love with your workplace. This is just to make your hours at work more familiar, and as a result, make you stronger.