I was once told that I shouldn’t go into business for myself because I’m my own worst boss. This was years ago when I was still a manager in corporate land.  I was a bit taken aback by the statement because I was so firmly engaged, my personality entwined, with being a good manager.  How could I be good at it with others and not with myself?  Then I started looking at my behaviors and choices.  If I made two columns and listed ways in which I treated my employees next to how I treated myself, I could clearly see what others were seeing.  I treated myself like crap!  I would never expect from my team what I expected from myself on a regular basis.  I would never allow the amount of self-abuse and self-sacrifice that I was demanding of myself.  What was even more in my face was that I would regularly point out to my employees that they were not their job, they didn’t owe the corporation anything, they needed to advocate for themselves, and they could be free at any time if they found something better (with the heavy emphasis that I knew there was better out there).

Yet I was so engaged with my work that the job was me and I was it and I couldn’t see the separation.  Not that the job required it of me.  Quite the opposite.  But I required it of me. I got out of balance with work, let it become my core, my identity, and take the majority of my energy on a daily basis. To the point where my off time was spent triaging the damage done by working so hard.  It wasn’t physically strenuous work. It wasn’t even emotionally strenuous work.  It was just work.  But the amount that I engaged in it, unnecessarily made it an unhealthy relationship.

So what to do?  Disengage.  You can do the same amount of work, sometimes even more, if you disengage the emotional component. If after getting emotionally codependent with a job you carefully and quietly disengage emotionally, things start coming into balance.  You know that adage that we build our own cages and don’t even realize it?  This is one major way in which we do that.  Disengaging is a powerful statement of reclaiming.  Reclaiming our lives logistically, reclaiming our identities, reclaiming our ability to cope with the world and stop having to just cope.  When we disengage we aren’t ceding the field, we aren’t failing, we aren’t giving up, we’re setting the record straight.  We aren’t our jobs and they don’t own us, unless we let them.  Disengage from the crazy and re-engage in yourself.