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#WFH: Are You The Same Person at Work?

People’s lives, motivations and identities centered on their surroundings and whether they were at work or not. Things were linear: first you went to school, then you went to work, then you retired. We used to transition in stages, time segments and life phases. Now we move through social experiences and diverse, complicated life involvements, from education to romance, on a device. The boundaries between work and play, student and worker, shopping and dating have blurred significantly.

Certainly, socioeconomic backgrounds, expectations and education figure into your identity. One’s identity is developed through a range of influences, practices, relationships and experiences. Identity is being developed now by being connected via technology. Because we can move so quickly between work and play, there is considerable evidence that young people look at the context of work and play differently. Personal relationships, well-being, lifestyle and play influence connections in the virtual environment.

Since the 2008 banking debacle, people all over the globe are less trusting of the establishment. The idea that you go to school, then graduate and get a good job that you keep for life is antiquated. Young people and others want flexibility and they are not sure that education will lead them to a job. They want options. The concept of career is a balancing act rather than an achievement. Who you are connected to makes all the difference; what you know is optional. Having a number of alternatives and the ability to make choices gives you flexibility (Stokes & Wyn, 2007).

Flexibility is what allows you to align your connections with your personal goals. If you want to work less and join the new rich, anything is possible. The message is clear. The old constraints and the old rules about work and play no longer apply. The lines between work and play are becoming very blurred and not always by your choice.

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