The uniforms we wear – End of the Day for September 29. 2014

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There are uniforms we wear on the outside and there are those uniforms we where on the inside. With external uniforms, though, we can easily strip them off and replace them with thoughts appropriate for home and life. Interior uniforms are much more difficult to discard after a long day at work. Having been there myself, i know how easy it is to bring work home with you, no matter what your job might be. Even after a long drive home — and maybe because of it — you can walk in the the front door feeling like you are facing the same challenges, the same arguments, the same disrespect, the same bureaucracy you face at work and treat everyone at home the same way you treat people at work.

Image from page 219 of "The photographic history of the Civil War : in ten volumes" (1911)

Now, that’s not to say you treat people badly at work, but the rigors of the office do require a certain amount of command, control and manipulation, no matter how great the job or workplace. Family members, though, can see through the uniform to the person below and — in many cases — won’t like it much. Family members have seen us at our best and our worst so they can easily tell when the uniform is still firmly in place in a loved one’s mind. Further, they probably don’t like it much. They want their father, brother, spouse, whatever back from the battle without all the uniform trappings and disguises. They want to be treated as a family member, not another co-worker, or even worse, an employee.

I have suffered from this inability to decompress and undress myself at the end of the work day and I see others who struggle with it, too. I have also seen the troubles it can cause first hand, which is a big reason I am addressing it now. You can’t expect to treat your work peers like your family or your family like your work peers or employees. Neither one will accept it. They will both rebel and call you on your folly. It can’t be done and you will suffer all the more for trying. Work is work and home is home and each requires a different uniform, both on your body and in you mind. Forget this at your peril.

Previously on End of the Day:

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