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Blurry Boundaries

Just a fence with a gate, guarding your property. That is a physical boundary. What about boundaries in relationships? What does that look like? Briefly, boundaries are a delineation of what is and what is not me, encompassing all aspects: mind, body, soul, spirit. It gives me a sense of ownership and what I am responsible for. Sometimes the lines are blurry because we never learned about healthy boundaries growing up. Without a clear sense of what is and is not mine to look after, confusion, chaos, anger and fear kicks in. Just like the fence; everyone is aware of what is under your ownership when healthy boundaries are in place. Boundary setting at work is often difficult to navigate. You want to move ahead so you give it all. You fawn like a dog hoping to be liked and stroked. You forfeit your peace for the good of the company. In the end, burnout and disappointment ensue. Here are some boundary-less issues many deal with in the work place:

Getting Saddled with Another Person’s Responsibilities

Here a coworker begins shifting some of their responsibilities onto your desk. It may be very subtle at first. Then all of a sudden you realize you're bogged down with a plethora of deadlines and they seem to be waltzing around the office. Not sure why you took the work as your own but maybe it’s because you have a difficult time saying no. Maybe you're afraid to ruffle feathers or you want everyone to like you. (Your reasoning has a lot to do with temperament). Yet it’s a huge problem. You begin to get weary and resentful. Here’s the clincher: you getting stuck with another worker's work is ultimately your problem.

Working Too Much Overtime

A boundary-less boss hires you for a twenty hour work week with forty hours of responsibilities. Hmmm…..we have a problem! Make sure a crucial conversation takes place so your boss knows what you were hired to do and in the time frame originally discussed. As Cloud & Townsend state, “ Poor planning on your part (boss) does not constitute an emergency on my part (worker). Again, maybe you are fearful of speaking up to authority and making waves. That again is on you.

Misplaced Priorities

Maybe it's planning and enforcing your budgeted time on the priorities necessary to get to your goal that is a problem. Be the best at those jobs that will inch you closer to your goal. Wisely prioritize, reevaluate and adjust your planner accordingly then stick to the plan.

“Difficult” Co-workers

Who hasn’t encountered this in their work history? Again, we are the problem even though it seems the coworker is. We allow that person access to our emotional life which is causing pain. Emotions should not be the driving force in the workplace.

Critical Attitudes

Creeping over to the water cooler just to listen to the gripping of others is not conducive to healthy attitudes at work. That will just drag you down, make you negative, unproductive and certainly unhappy.  Sure, you may need to bounce around some issues you might be having and navigate the best outcome on a situation BUT complaining and  gossiping to those who do not and can not initiate plans and solutions are not where you should go for answers. Maybe try the Human Resources dept.

Conflict with Authority

This issue could be tapping into issues with past authoritative figures and transferring that old pattern to this new authority figure. This scenario most likely could be hammered out in counseling.

Expecting Too Much of Work

Emotional needs again, do not have a place at work. You get paid to keep your focus on growing the business and working in community for the betterment of the company and put food on your table. These emotional  needs, while extremely important, are best met in family, church or community.

Taking Work-Related Stress Home

Suggestion: learn to keep work at work so the stress will not spill over and cause your home life and relationships unnecessary problems. Home should be a place of peace and self care amongst loved ones.

Disliking Your Job

Easy solution: find your life’s work.

 Hope these tips help you in your life’s work journey.


Dr. Anita J Arrunategui/ "Boundaries" by Dr.s Cloud & Townsend/Canva Pro


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