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Compartmentalization: Not Just for Spies!

08/14/2014

I first heard of compartmentalizing when I was watching that show Alias back when I was in Junior College. At the time I had no idea what it meant, but based on the context I figured out that it’s basically the concept of keeping the separate parts of your life separate. I’d imagine that would be a necessary ability for spies, but it is just as important for anybody with a professional life.

I hate it when one of my bosses is fighting with his wife. He comes to work all grumpy and no matter how good or bad a joke I crack, he won’t smile. I can tell when one of my supervisors is having a bad day because he nitpicks small details that, in the grand scheme of things, don’t matter. And he whines a lot. These are just on bad days, though. On good days we have nice conversations and are able to work in concert to serve guests.

It’s actually quite unprofessional to be able to tell the difference between a person’s personal good days and bad days. Of course, there is a point where you just can’t fake it, and at that point a reasonable accommodation must be made. You need to calm down. It’s not your fault if your coworker suspects her boyfriend is cheating on her or that your boss has a new baby that is keeping him up nights. That stuff shouldn’t reach the workplace, though more often than naught it does. And, except for your friends, nobody really cares about your crap, either.

When it is you who are having trouble keeping home at home, there are always things that you can do to calm down in the moment to get your mind off your troubles and onto your work. Please note: none of these things actually deals with your problem. Dealing with your problem so that it is no longer a problem is the ideal solution, but isn’t possible if you come to work before the issue is solved.

Basically, my advice is to learn to let things go. Having a pressing issue, perhaps one at work or at home, that you can’t do anything about but it’s interfering with your mood? I’m assuming that if there was something you could do about it, you would have done it already. Well, you shouldn’t let it bother you. Let it go. Sing the Disney song, listen to it, or just listen to another song or watch a YouTube video that you really like (Suggestions are in blue). Just remember, there is nothing you can do about it right now, so there is no point in letting it ruin your day or anyone else’s.

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