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Your Job Is Not a Family

Written By: Lauren Howard

Your job is not a family.

It’s not.

And guess what? It shouldn’t be.

I love my family, but I can handle exactly one of them.

My brothers and I have gone months without talking. All three of them frustrate me differently. We irritate each other to no end. We talk sh!t about each other like it’s our job. I know every one of their buttons to push, and I am instantly and personally rewarded by pushing them.

Negative attention is still attention, yo. Child Development 101.

We will all go to the ends of the earth for a laugh, which makes us less than productive when together.

Nothing is serious— including the really serious stuff. Ask me about how we opened my dad’s funeral with a joke.

Boundaries? What are those?

I would never politely ask my brothers for help. It looks a whole lot more like, “Hey, idiot, did you return that thing for me? Probably not because your brain barely functions, but can you? Like, now?”

For the record, I can say anything that I want about them, but you can’t. Sister privilege only. I'll fight you.

If I sent an overly considerate message, they would either call the police and report a kidnapping or be instantly wary that I was about to ask them for a huge favor.

For my birthday one year, one of them got me a card, scratched out the nice message and wrote in, “You’re still here?”

And don’t even get me started on the family that I married into or these kids that light up my life and make my hair turn grey at the same dang time.

I don’t have to be the best version of myself with them. They have to tolerate me at my most mediocre and my laziest.

This is NOT the relationship that I want with my colleagues. I’m all for being funny and lighthearted at work, but if a colleague sent me a text that said, “Hey moron, did you follow up with that client or did you forget because you can barely tie your shoes?” . . . I would be concerned.

If my workplace was filled with as many negative coping mechanisms as my family life, it would be toxic and hostile. It wouldn’t be funny, and I would be insecure all of the time.

I can handle exactly one family.

But a team? I LOVE being part of a team.

I care about my teammates and how each of their contributions are important to our overall success. I will cover for them, back them up, show up when they need support, and give them all of the resources that they need.

Everyone on my team is handled with care. Everyone in my family is handled with . . . well, ya know. They have to love me. 🤷🏻‍♀️

You’re not a family. If operating well together, you’re a team.

That’s the infinitely better option.

Families put each other into therapy. Teams work together and support each other to achieve a goal.

It’s way, way less likely that I’ll call you butthead.


Founder & CEO at elletwo


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