Work Wife, Happy Life

By Patrice Abner

I have come to understand the beauty of having a work wife. What is a work wife you might ask? At each job I have had in student affairs, I have been far happier when I made a friend who truly understood what I was going through and I hadentrusted with my venting. Let’s be honest, there are some things about our jobs that may drive us completely bananas or remind us of the reasons that we chose to develop students on a daily basis. You need someone to share your experiences with – good and bad. This is where I developed the concept of a work wife.

When I was in graduate school, I had a work wife and a work husband. I now have a work wife. You might ask yourself how do I identify a potential work spouse. Typically I have found best that my other half works in a different department on campus than I do. We are comfortable sharing experiences together. It is also a colleague that I can close the door and vent to knowing that it will not leave the confines of the four walls of the office.

I believe that having a person in your life like this is important and healthy. If you hold in negative thoughts and feelings, your attitude will start to resemble the way you feel. It is okay for you to have a bad day but it is very easy to bring down the morale of the group when you are clearly upset. I worked with someone who was disengaged. He felt that his time at the university had come to pass and was ready to move on. For three months he began his job search and things started to suffer in relation to the students. Since the students are the reason that we wake up and go to work each day, we should do our best to remain positive in light of certain situations and not allow our job performance to decline.

Create mutually beneficial relationships on campus for yourself. It sometimes becomes difficult to find balance and boundaries in student affairs. It is an essential part of you being happy and healthy in your profession. Don’t be afraid to claim a work spouse! Trust me, you will feel a lot better.

Student Affairs - the First Years

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