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What’s Your Relationship With Work?

What’s Your Relationship With Work?

People inspire me. They talk. I listen. Then something I hear just sparks me thinking. I jot down that phrase or concept in my newsletter ideas list. I did that all weekend long in Nashville at the MG 100 Community Gathering as you probably noticed from my recent posts.

The idea that got me thinking and writing this week was…

Define the type of relationship you want to have with work, and the type of relationships you want to have at work.”

As someone who wrote a course on intergenerational dynamics in the workplace, this made me think that each generation has responded to this sentiment differently. I would venture to say, each generation may be doing it a little bit better than the last.

The baby boomers and the silent generation were motivated by obligation and survival. They were loyal and often stayed with one company.

Gen Z had a little bit more connection to what they were doing and who they were doing it for. They started to jump around a little more, trying to find their fit.

Millennials appreciate mobility. Nowadays if somebody’s resume doesn’t have a lot of jumping around, it makes you wonder. Are they not motivated to grow?

I love this thought worm, a relationship with work.

What are we looking for in our work? I look for purpose. A sense of mission. An ability to impact. I want my relationship with work to be meaningful but not all encompassing.

And the second part of the idea, the type of relationships you want to have at work.

Even in the zoom room, we often spend more time with work colleagues than family. Those workplace relationships will impact how we feel at work and about work. We work with and for other people. Those relationships have a huge impact on our productivity as well as our happiness and job satisfaction.

In thinking about our connection to work, I often am asked about work – life balance. Let me be clear, it doesn’t exist. Balance implies there are two separate aspects of who you are.

The truth is work is a part of who we are. It isn’t about balancing but rather integrating. If we separate our work and life, we feel disconnected to it and probably disengaged by it. Connect to your work because of the people, the mission, your sense of purpose, your feeling of impact or contribution.

Value whatever you are doing, know you are part of a bigger picture. Connect to your work and focus on integrating your whole life and fitting in the aspects that are most important to you.

Was it just me? Or did this concept make you reflect too? Think about what your current relationship is with work and at work. Are the relationships you have at work what you want them to be? How can you connect or reconnect?


Michelle Tillis Lederman, (CSP, PCC, SCC, MBA) is an expert on workplace communications and relationships. Named by Forbes as one of the Top 25 Networking Experts, and one of the Top 30 Communications Professionals in the World by Global Gurus. Michelle is a speaker, trainer, executive coach, and author of four books including The Connector's Advantage and The 11 Laws of Likability. She was invited to the Marshall Goldsmith 100 Coaches Group, “100 Coaches Community brings together the world’s premier leadership thinkers” to seek ways to advance positive impact and give back to society. 

An executive coach, people expert, and CEO of Executive Essentials, Michelle inspires organizations and individuals to build real relationships and get real results. Having worked with fortune 500, non-profit, university and government clients she’s identified the common struggle… it’s people challenges. When asked by her young son what she does, she simply replied, “I help people work better together.” This purpose has driven her work with clients large and small including JPMorgan, J&J, Deutsche Bank, Michigan State University, MetLife, Sony, Ernst & Young, the Department of Environmental Protection, and Madison Square Garden.

She received her BS from Lehigh University, her MBA from Columbia Business School, holds the PCC designation from the International Coaching Federation, and is certified in Marshall Goldsmith’s Stakeholder Centered Coaching method. Executive Essentials is a certified Women Business Enterprise.

You may also contact Michelle at Leadership Speakers Bureau to schedule her for speaking or leadership engagements.


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