Being detached from work
July 31, 2018 11:26 AM   Subscribe

I'm starting a new job this week, part-time (I'm self-employed the rest of the time), with an employer I have worked for before and had a difficult time at. I'm looking for tips to ensure I stay detached from work and can switch off from it when I'm not there.

Slightly more detail - I'm going back to a much less senior post in a different area of the organisation. I'm in a different place mentally from when I worked there before, so I'm not too worried about getting sucked in to caring too much about work, working too many hours, getting indignant about things, feeling exploited, stressing about work when I'm not there - but I know these things can creep up on one so any advice you have would be helpful. Thanks.
posted by paduasoy to Work & Money (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This is really hard for me to do, but one thing I've noticed is if you don't have your email sent to your phone, and nobody knows your personal cell, you can't really be bothered to think about work much when you aren't there.
posted by bbqturtle at 11:37 AM on July 31, 2018 [5 favorites]

Set some kind of detaching ritual for when your workday is done. If you commute, this could be the commute itself - "When I get off this train, I'm not thinking about work again until I go back." It could be talking a walk before starting your evening, a beverage with your partner, changing into different clothes. When I had a job where I needed this space, I did a combination of these things, including stashing my work bag out of sight in a closet as soon as I got home.
posted by writermcwriterson at 11:56 AM on July 31, 2018 [4 favorites]

I have done exactly this, and it worked out really well. I did need to make it clear that I wouldn't be available outside of my regular schedule unless they booked the time about a week in advance, but once that was established, it's been going smoothly for years. Being part time means that your co-workers don't have the expectation that you're there to do to their bidding whenever something pops into their head, they need to remember your actual schedule and work with that. It also gives you enough time away from whatever is happening in the office that you're able to let go of the worries and problems of the job before you have to get back into them. So, best advice I can give is to try to be pretty rigid about your schedule, and make it hard for them to contact you outside of it. Also the longer you maintain that the easier it becomes. Part time hours are pretty great!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:14 PM on July 31, 2018 [3 favorites]

Seconding that you need a ritual. Turning off work brain got a lot easier when I got a dog - that post-work walk or trip to the dog park is seriously magical in terms of creating a division between your work day and the rest of your evening/day. If you don't have a dog (or kids), have some sort of other ritual you do every day when you're done with work.
posted by lunasol at 1:54 PM on July 31, 2018

Have a rule to not think about work shit once you leave.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:58 PM on July 31, 2018

Thank you, everyone. Things I'm trying - post-work ritual; changing clothes; sticking to set hours (this is going to be the tricky one as they really want a full-time person); being a compartmentalised version of me at work (being reasonably friendly but avoiding anything personal); having set routines about work; not doing personal stuff at work (eg internet). I don't have a smartphone so email access isn't an issue. Not sure how it's going so far - I'm in that weird first few days at work thing where you don't have anything to do, which is stressful in itself.
posted by paduasoy at 4:13 AM on August 4, 2018

Exercise right after work--it really helps to reset the brain.
posted by purplesludge at 4:41 PM on August 7, 2018

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