by Kyra Cavanaugh, LifeMeetsWork
What is connection? Have the nature of our connections with each other changed over the last five years? I feel like they have.
Gone are the days of:
- Going out to lunch. In fact, no one even know when lunch is. The lunch hour as we used to know it is gone in a world of multiple time zones and global teams.
- Stopping by to chat in a co-workers cube. Heck, gone are the cubes!
- Friendships at work. Today, a woman in my workshop said it occurred to her that she doesn't have any friends at work. How many of us do anymore?
- Defining relationship building and communication responsibilities as work. So many people I talk to now see those things as getting in the way of their work.
- What about the situational friends I had in high school, college, when I had babies, when I had elementary aged children, when I moved to my town? I've grown away, apart, different from them. Are they still friends? Letting them go means letting go of that part of my life, acknowledging those key life events are in the past. Am I okay with that?
- Are fulfilling professional relationships acceptable replacements for the personal ones that I don't have time for?
- Is doing what I love and contributing positively to humanity at work enough? Or do I have an obligation to do more for my community?
- Should FaceTime with my kids count as connection and relieve my motherhood guilt as I chat with them from a hotel room yet again?
- My husband and I have only gone one day in our marriage when we didn't talk to each other due to travel schedules that prevented it. Does texting count instead?
- Does Facebook count as connection? What if the seemingly perfect lives of others have so alienated you that you called it quits on social networking?
The answers to each of these questions obviously lies within each of us. We each have to define connection and our satisfaction with that definition based on our own needs.
But we also need to assert our own needs for connection within the institutions we live. If FaceTime can no longer replace the longing you have to hug your kids at night, do you need to renegotiate the amount you're traveling?
Is it time for you to ask for the flex arrangement you secretly desire, so that you can be home for dinner even once a week?
Should you start an "I love lunch" club as part of your corporate wellness program?
In other words, when will each of us become courageous enough to assert our needs for connection with the institutions in which we live?
Until we do, I fear we'll continue down a slippery slope–too busy to recognize our need for authentic connection and too afraid to ask.
"Craving connection?" Life Meets Work can help your team reconnect and stay connected especially when you're working with people you don't see everyday." Find out more at www.lifemeetswork.com/.