Beyond providing exceptional pay and unique benefits, any ideal job must compel you to care. When your work is meaningful, you care deeply about what you do. You actually want to come to the office. Your energy and motivation levels remain high as the work you do feels more rewarding.
But is it possible to care too much about your work? At what point does caring become harmful, rather than advantageous?
It may come as a surprise, but becoming too attached to your work can become a serious problem. However, when you master emotional detachment from your job, you will see exceptional benefits in both the short and long-term, at home and in the office.
When you strive to become less attached to work, you become skilled at setting boundaries necessary for maintaining good mental health. The chances of you experiencing work exhaustion or fatigue decrease after you decide to completely refrain from checking email after 7 pm, for example. If your work--and the frustrations, worries, and issues associated with it--follows you around, it will be rare that you ever find a moment of true rest and relaxation.
Emotionally detaching and setting boundaries also allows you to spend time on the things in your life that really matter, whether this is family, friends, or personal interests you are passionate about. Shifting away from work--even just a little bit--allows you to shift towards the things that bring you joy and happiness, and re-prioritizing gives you the chance to enjoy the small things in life too.
And, last but not least, emotionally detaching from work can lead you to a new identity truer to you. Remember you are more than your office cubicle and checking e-mails. Although a job is something you do, it is not necessarily who you are. A psychological concept called self-complexity suggests that your identity is multi-faceted. If you explore the different parts of who you are, you will be able to cope better with depression, failure, and stress.
Author Ron. W. Rathbun once remarked, "True detachment isn't separation from life but the absolute freedom within your mind to explore living."
Deriving value from your job is valid but being consumed by work leaves little room to enjoy your life. Set boundaries, shift your priorities, and consider caring a little less.