Setting Professional Boundaries

First, what are professional boundaries?

We know that personal boundaries are boundaries that mark personal comfort levels regarding emotionality, physical touch, et cetera. Professional boundaries are the same thing, just with aspects of business relationships. If you’re in the workforce, self-employed or employed by someone else, you probably have experienced the need to set some professional boundaries before.

If you’ve ever gotten sick with a virus, ran a fever, and needed to take a day off, what did you do? Did you call in? When you called in, did your manager make it seem like you were a criminal for needing to take care of yourself? Did they make it seem like it was your fault that they were about to be understaffed? How did you handle that?

Most people are likely to shrug it off, but others (myself included) struggle with internalizing other people’s actions – which likely was created by past trauma or experiences. It shouldn’t feel “criminal” to take care of ourselves.

Now, how many people forced themselves to go to work because of their bosses reaction to them attempting to call in? Or how many people came into work, sicker than a dog, because they already knew how their boss would react to a call-in?

This behavior was probably based on another past experience that taught them they couldn’t take care of themselves over their success in their position. I’ve been in a job like that before, major tech company.

Professional boundaries don’t have to be centered around your self-care practices, but if a job started to impede on your personal life, then that’s a sign that your work-life balance is becoming unbalanced… and something should change. We can normalize self-care if we all start instituting practices across the board.

Let’s do this together.

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