Episode No. 138
  •  May 10, 2024

The Power of Indifference

How Not Giving a #%X Can Improve Your Work Life

In this episode of Crina and Kirsten Get to Work, our “hosts with the most” discuss not giving a #%$X!  Yes, friends, there are times when we should care less about work.  Our precious mental, emotional and even spiritual energy are really better used on something else.


There is so much we can care about at work – what other people think, what other people do, outcomes we cannot control, what information we do not have – just so much and yet when is it really worth it to care?

Our duo starts with what is worth caring about:

  • Our personal relationships.
  • The responsibilities we agree to take on at work, in community, or with our family and friends.
  • Our professional/ personal development – being our best selves, which also includes really liking who we turn out to be.
  • Our financial security.
  • Our values and ethical and moral principles – living with integrity.

Work weaves its way through many of the things we care about.  The challenge with work is that many of us tend to define ourselves by our work.

Harvard Business Review interviewed 700 employees and concluded that while passion at work is generally a good thing, too much passion leads to burnout and a little detachment goes a long way to creating a sustainable relationship with work, with reduced burnout, enhanced creativity, increased resilience, better focus and better decision making. Don’t Let Passion Lead to Burnout on Your Team (hbr.org)

So how to do we give less of a #%$X without getting ourselves into the #%$X?

Ask yourself why:  Carefully consider why you care so deeply about something?  Is it just about ego or is it really consistent with the list above (relationships you value, principles you hold dear . . .).

Ask yourself whether your response/involvement is really that important: Doing nothing can be perfectly appropriate; and remember most people care far less about what we do than we think.

Put your job in context: A job is not the be all and end all of your life and if it is, that is a new issue to consider.    For most of us a job funds our lives and those of the people we love.

Create boundaries between work life and personal life. Boundaries between work and personal are key to caring a little less when caring is overwhelming.  Do you leave on time, do you check your emails all evening, do you cancel time with friends and family because of work emergencies?  Creating stronger boundaries can help us create that work life balance, which may just need a little less caring.

And remember there are really always four responses to a situation:

  • Exit: remove yourself from the situation; do nothing; LET THEM
  • Voice: take action and try to improve the situation
  • Persistence: stay in, kind of grin and bear it
  • Neglect: stay but reduce effort

We have options in deciding how much we care.  And we need to wisely use our caring energy.