In this Monday edition of the Financial Times, Lucy Kellaway wrote a cracking article about the link between your relationship at work and your marriage. She mentioned an article published in the Harvard Business Review, that concludes in this principle: how we behave at work is very similar to how we behave at home. Lucy Kellaway doesn’t agree at all with this, but I don’t share completely her view.
The chief editor of another newspaper in my country is called Mussolini in his newsroom. He’s also reknown to be a true misogynist and likes to harass the young female recruits. Yet, he’s married, and according to those who know his wife, he’s not the boss at home at all. So, he would give reason to Lucy Kellaway.
On the other hand, not everyone is affected by this Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide type of personality. Two of my colleagues are married together, and I can’t see any difference between their behaviour at work and their behaviour in the private sphere. We go out sometimes together after work so I can observe the way they act in private, and they stay the same: she manages everything in their life while he just stresses about everything. At work, it’s the same dynamic: she manages everything in our unit, while he just stresses about everything.
Another colleague of mine, who recently divorced, reproduces the same mistake at work than at home: she doesn’t see when she got fooled. Her husband didn’t want her to join her while he was living abroad, and she didn’t suspect anything. In our newsroom, she’s the one our editors confide the job no other journalist would do. She also told me that one journalist, who’s well known to borrow a lot from the others, still owe her some debts.
I’m the type of personality that avoids any kind of conflict and tries to be nice with everyone, but if you mess with me, you will get in trouble. This applies with my colleagues, but also with my man.
C., a friend of mine, is a very authority personality with everyone. When I used to work with her, she was the kind of women who always sends everyone to hell if you’re annoying her (and it was often the case). With her man, she was constantly yelling at him (her phone conversation with him at work were epic) for doing everything wrong, especially with their daughter. She just got divorced a year ago, BTW.
In fact, the principle edicted by the Harvard Business Review works well if we are pathetically keen to please. In my colleague’s case, she’s a very generous person that always put everyone’s interest before hers. How can you be keen to please everyone at work and be a true tyrant at home with your husband (with your kids, that’s another story, especially if they’re difficult)?
So, do you agree with Lucy Kellaway, or do you agree with the Harvard Business Review?