Before Stepping In

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Tess was one of those hard working ladies of the office everyone admired. She looked great. She was great. She was positive and smiled a lot. She was the life blood of the office. Cute and funny, she was attentive to the details of every connection people had with her. It was clear that she was going to be heading up the ladder fast.

While most of the staff kept complaining about the workload and the summer strict dress code, Tommy noticed with great joy and interest that Tess seemed not to mind the strict code. She seemed to thrive with it.

So, as they went from newbies to accepted members of the company family, Tommy started to chat things up with Tess a bit. He quickly learned that she was dedicated, focused, and attached to her work. Her smile often hid some of the emotional bumps that came with having a caring heart.

It was easy for him to just encourage her not to take things personal, not that she showed she did. It was easy for him to tell her not to bring work home. The truth of the matter was, they both were taking things a bit personal and took too much home with them.

Burnout was a serious risk that they both knew was looming as the rate of deadlines not only increased but got shorter and shorter with the passage of time. The economic winds had shifted and changed, now the staff was being asked to do way more than when the great recession had hit… trimming many of their colleagues off the payroll ledger.

As Tommy and Tess discussed their options and methods to handle this growing pile of stress, it became clear that Tess had an advantage that Tommy had not noticed until they began meeting up before work. She would subtly pause before stepping into work.

Asking her what that was about, he soon learned that it was her way of acknowledging that her personal life was now being placed on hold before she would take on her professional demeanor.

As odd as that was, Tommy gave that practice a go. Before long, he was finding that his home stress was not following him into the office. Not that there was magic in the ritual, but it was a way to be mindful of the fact that he was changing activities to get into his work mode. At first the changes were only noticeable to him, but in time, Tess complimented his ability to arrive to work more cheerful and ready to tackle the day. It was not long before his bosses noticed and rewarded him with more work.

Nevertheless, with this new mutually shared habit, the mounting stress and deadlines was still weighing on Tess and Tommy. There had to be a better more optimized way of doing this pause to mitigate some of the stress at work.

Over lunch, Tess brought up how much her work followed her home. She wanted to find a way to separate herself from her work and enjoy her home. Tommy nearly laughed, as he thought she had that already figured and mastered. Turns out, the routine was just for the morning. Maybe, Tommy suggested, they should apply this practice of pausing before stepping into their home life.

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