The Yin and Yang of Work and Home


I have two distinct personalities.  At work I am focused, outspoken, funny, extroverted,  a leader and mentor– and my desk is a disaster.  At home I am scattered,  introverted, ‘step-childed’ and stepped on–and obsessed over mess.  How can these two halves be a whole? I’ve heard of a “work personality” and a “home personality” but why does this happen?  What drives these two to diverge from the one brain?  And who is the real me?

I think the answer lies in power, control and time.  At work, I am in a more senior position and what I say holds some weight.  I have a desk the size of a piece of paper and 100 projects.  I’ve attempted to control this in my small, free pockets of time by stacking file holder on file holder, but I draw the line at 2 feet high. Well, actually the upper cabinet prevents me from stacking more.  And good thing, or it would resemble the Cat in the Hat.  Now it only resembles the Hat and the Fishbowl.  I have folders on folders.  I have a list of what number folder goes with what project.  I don’t keep it up, so each folder is a bit of a surprise.  With all this, my computer files are a work of art.  And good thing too, or I would not get anything done.  I have files in files in files in files.  I have some files stacked 6 deep.  And I can put my mental hand on anything in a few seconds.  I also have the dubiously special gift of ‘earblock’.  Get me involved in a project and the world goes away into a hazy mist.  I have a mouth that speaks one millisecond before my brain thinks.  That “gift” brings moments of hilarity or heaps coals of closed door punishments.  I have been known to dance around and hug people when the unit is stressed.  Sometimes I even kiss them.  Generally this elicits loads of laughs and a lightening of mood, something very important when people are short-staffed and stressed.

Yes, I am an HR nightmare.  

At home, I am ignored (unless I go into a state of manic insanity), the maid of all work, bossed around, and live with slobs who don’t understand that finding an item in a room of 50 scattered pieces of stuff drives me bug-nuts.  So I  curl into my turtle shell, do what I can to keep the house running, and with the time I have left do my devotions, fantasize about a clean neat house, and blog to relieve stress.

I guess that appreciation and control bring out my turtle head.  Tyranny and demands pull my head in as deep as it can get.  It seems that my personality changes and  responds to external factors.  But that’s called “external locus of control” and not a healthy coping skill.  Fracturing one’s personality leaves the door open to other darker personality traits to emerge with a change in environment.  I need to find an internal locus of control to pull both of these into one me.  I am a scale, unbalanced, and I need a stable weight to stop my teeter totter life. 

In the past, my religion has helped and a couple of months ago I realized that my Christian life was a big flop.  And I decided that I must do something about it now.  For I believe that my faith is the balanced weight that will quiet my “yin and yang” life.  And as I am bipolar, I need this more than ever. 

I wrote a short rhyme one day (using an exercise to make each line rhyme with the first ending word) when I came home to a huge mess after seeing the word IRONIC on a  driver’s license.  I was feeling that life was ironic, and this plate made me laugh.  Sometimes a small thing can change one’s perspective and make the day.

“What is this?”, I say.

These dishes do not make my day!

This over spilled cup over here

and that sticky goo right there.

But I will win this messy game, never fear!

For while  none of you have a care

you will soon shed more then one tear

as I will become cross as a bear.

your tender years

Do I make myself clear?

It is strange, bipolar, and a bit ironic;
my workplace mess is quite iconic!
At home I require order as a tonic.
 Today my house was a post-tornadic whirl….
cups with solutions, both acidic and ionic,
knocked over and left in a sticky swirl!
My voice raised into realms most sonic,
“Clean up, you won’t walk again until legs become bionic!”


*Re-blogged for Rarasaur’s Prompt for the Promptless: The Alter Ego


5 comments on “The Yin and Yang of Work and Home

  1. Great insight to everyday life Lori, its funny how we can take on different personalities depending on where we find ourselves! I like your connection to how faith is a balance, it has a way of righting the wrongs and leveling reality.

    • Thank you, I think humans are so much more complex then “extroverted” or other such attempts to box us in. Hey, I just saw that you are no longer in my follow list. This is the 4th person now. Have you had this happen? I am of course putting you back on… 🙂

  2. Wonderful poem, Lorene. You’re amazing. I can’t say I understand a whole lot about being bipolar, but it just occurred to me that all we Christians are, in a sense, bipolar. I’m talking about the diametrical war between flesh and spirit, between the good me and the bad me, especially as it is described in Romans 7. The thing that I find so encouraging is the fact that each one of us has the God-given power/Spirit to walk in the spirit always or as much as we want to. We have the power. Control. Time. You’re on to something here.

    • Actually, I never really thought of spiritual warfare in that light. Very interesting idea. I am really struggling with the good and bad me right now, so I think your example is one I need to think further about.

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