Trying to ‘unsocialize’ when you’re the office go-to person – Boston Herald

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Q: I’m a mover and shaker, and people come to me all the time with questions. I’m the go-to, the social butterfly, the person who always remembers everyone’s birthdays. But, it’s beyond! I never get my work done anymore. My boss loves keeping me around — there were tons of layoffs — but I know one of the main reasons they kept me is because they felt I’m the glue that holds the department together. How can I unsocialize myself?
A: I always like to start with the positive, so it’s great you weren’t laid off and are also considered a valuable, integral part of your department! Now, let’s get into strategies so you can still be viewed as an important mover and shaker, but this time without all the time-consuming interruptions.
Start setting boundaries. Even if you’re working remotely, this means not being so available to everyone. If you have direct reports and they consistently email you throughout the day, suggest one email at the end of the day if things aren’t time-sensitive. Streamline efficiency if you’re getting a lot of questions.
For the social piece, again create boundaries. This could look like scaling back coffee breaks with colleagues. Perhaps if you previously went daily, now make it a once or twice a week occurrence. And this isn’t to put it all on them — you may need to set boundaries with yourself and block out time on your calendar. Perhaps factor in time to connect with colleagues, but ensure it’s only after you finish a specific task.
If they’re stopping by your desk throughout the day with updates about their social life or social feeds, you may want to also state something like, “I’m working on deadline right now and don’t have the attention I wish I could have to be present in this conversation, but we can chat over lunch.” Say what sounds most genuine and authentic to you, but setting clear boundaries and sticking to them will be key in your journey to remaining valuable but getting your work done and being less social.
You can still be social, but it sounds like you’ll need to scale back to tackle your workload.
Q: I got a job offer from my summer internship! I’m graduating next May and already have a job with the same boss I had this summer. I feel so relieved, but out of all my friends, I’m the only one with a job and I’m going back to school soon. Should I tell them? Will they be jealous?
A: Congrats on your job offer! This is wonderful news especially since you already know the culture as well as your boss, so your ramp-up time when you start next summer will be less than if you were a brand-new hire.
Now, onto your question. If they’re jealous are they really your friends? If you don’t tell them, will you feel like you’re hiding something?
If I were in your shoes, though, I would tell them. This is something to celebrate — you earned it! And again, if they’re jealous, are they really supportive friends? Above all, you could be a great support system for them during their job search as well as an inspiration. Considering you landed a job already, they can do it too!
— Tribune News Service
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