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Misplaced loyalties: The dangers of caring too much about work

If time is a measure of love, work has to be at the top of the list. But should it?

An article by Sue Shellenbarger in the Wall Street Journal discusses how it can be tough to be an "organization-lover."

Organization-lovers identify with their company. They become offended at violations of mission and values, Shellenbarger writes. This love of the company can get workers kudos (they "invest extra effort," Shellenbarger says), but also can put workers at risk when they challenge supervisors.

"These loyal workers, who identify with their employers' missions and want a sense of belonging at work, can feel stressed or even hurt if the organization does something they see as unfair or unwise," she writes.

In contrast are the "free agents" who are more emotionally detached from work. To them, work is a place that gives them a paycheck.

At the blog "A Highly Sensitive Person's Life," a writer who identifies herself as "Kelly" writes about people with higher sensitivity to things like noise, light and so forth. The blog features a photo of a happy child with a cartoon balloon caption that says, "I started caring less about my job and now it's nothin' but rainbows." Kelly discusses caring about a job and being loyal and hard-working. "But please remember that worrying and stressing about your job isn't productive," Kelly says.

Emotions play a huge part in how people think and act at work, and those emotions are contagious, writes Bindu Sridhar at The Hindu. "Getting psychologically involved with the ups and downs of work, letting emotion rule your heart and head and letting it play havoc on your own health and happiness is a big mistake," Sridhar writes. "Make yourself solely responsible for your own well-being and happiness. The next time someone tries to upset or anger you, try to deal with the situation with cool detachment and objectivity."

Gill Corkindale at Harvard Business Review says it is "very easy to be consumed by work" and offers some advice to "ensure we don't become too identified with work."

She suggests workers ask themselves if they really need to work those long hours and encourages people to "manage your energy, not your time."

Corkindale advises employees to find someone at work, a mentor or buddy, to discuss work issues with rather than people at home. She also says to leave work at work. "You need to be able to switch off from work for your own health and sanity and that of your friends and family," she says. "However much you love your job, it is a mistake to define yourself too closely to your work."

Email: mdegroote@deseretnews.com Twitter: @degroote