Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

American employers don’t like your personal life

with one comment

Interesting factoid:

Is your cube festooned with photos of your dog, sports paraphernalia, and/or Star Wars action figures? If the answer is yes, be warned: your manager may be thinking of you as less than professional. New research from the University of Michigan reveals that people who over-personalize their workspace are often considered less serious about their jobs than employees who toil in a more sterile environment.

The study found that for the 95 managers surveyed, “the image of someone who is professional versus unprofessional reflects the proportion of objects that reference their personal, nonwork life.”

So how many trinkets are too many? Researchers say the professional vs. unprofessional line is drawn at one in five, meaning, if *more* than one in five of the items in your office is “personal in nature” your commitment to the job may be in question.

Interestingly, the research asserts that this anti-tchotchke bias is largely an American phenomenon. From the report:

A general aversion for blurring the work/personal boundary in the context of work is more reflective of American business practices than of those found in many other industrialized societies…. Americans are expected to put aside personal matters and focus almost exclusively on work-specific concerns upon entering the office.

I guess you can read this as either a mandate to pare down your personality… or a call to seek employment overseas.

Written by Leisureguy

6 October 2007 at 8:58 am

Posted in Business, Daily life

One Response

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  1. Just another example of how American professionals are expected to simply accept that they must “live to work.” Nevermind the numerous studies that have shown that workers in less button-down environments, with more space and freedom are happier, healthier, and more productive (read: they actually cost their company less). It’s becoming almost like the employee must adopt the communist Russia approach to their work, whist the fatcats maintain the same narrow-minded profiteering mentality.



    6 October 2007 at 10:51 am

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