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by Trevor Lee

When life outside of work gets hard there are two common responses. One is to compartmentalize whatever is going on–creating a wall between work and the rest of life. The other is to have your work totally derailed. Neither of these is tenable.

Compartmentalizing serious issues in your life to keep them out of your work sounds like a good idea on the surface. After all, your failing marriage, loss of a loved one, crippling debt, struggling child, or medical diagnosis have nothing to do with your work. Except they do. The idea that your life can be broken up into pieces and walled off from each other just isn’t true. While you may be able to stuff your emotions and focus on your job, the subconscious is far too strong to make real separation possible. Your pain in life will start to leak out eventually, whether that’s in treating co-workers poorly, producing subpar work, or finding ways to medicate.

On the other hand, having your work totally derailed by problems outside the office isn’t an option either.