I was speaking with a colleague yesterday and we got into talking about the roles we have in relationships. My wife had recently called, and she was asking for some help with the banking; in my house, I often take care of the money matters, so when she is looking to address financial items, there is often a steeper learning curve for her. The same is true in my case when it comes to cooking. I’m not a great cook, largely because I haven’t had a ton of practice.
This led to my colleague and I discussing our various roles in our relationships, and how sometimes (often, really), we end up taking on roles that never seem to change. This isn’t just personal relationships, this “routine of roles” exists throughout professional relationships as well.
For instance, one of our colleagues may always be the listener. Another may always be the detractor. Still another might always be the one who is stressed.
While a portion of this is clearly tied to our actual work “roles,” some of it is based on the “roles” we find ourselves in that are just as much about our personalities as our working conditions.
There is nothing “wrong” with having role routines. We often find ourselves occupying niches that we both enjoy and that we are good at. But, inherently, there can be a bit of a problem even with this. . . .we should always want to extend ourselves to move towards those responsibilities that are new for us, or those for which we don’t have a wealth of experience.
My conversation with my colleague made me think of the value of doing more cooking at home, and becoming a better listener at work. While our role routines may identify us, they don’t have to be specifically what defines who we really are.