Last week I started talking about healthy boundaries at work. It's fascinating how much easier we find it to build physical boundaries at home between us and our neighbors and yet how difficult it seems to establish boundaries within our careers.

So what do healthy boundaries look like? It really varies from one person to another.  What is acceptable and works for one person may look totally impossible for another. You really have to spend time identifying what your non-negotiables are. Non-negotiables are key to setting a healthy boundary with you and your work. Those non-negotiables are part of your core values. They are what is important and meaningful to you.

Some professionals are energized by being in the office environment while others feel stifled by it.  I recently worked with a professional mother who was locked into a role that required her to be in the office at her desk each day.  While the company she worked for is a well-known, employee-friendly one, the role was just not a good fit for her.  She needed autonomy and freedom within her day to structure her work.  Ultimately, she made the decision to move to another job that was a better fit for her and her non-negotiables at this point in her career.

Another professional I coached was seeking to build upon her past experience in sales.  She interviewed for a position that seemed ideal in the day-to-day responsibilities.  However, one of the requirements was a considerable amount of travel.  This professional mother still has a child at home and does not want to be on the road each week as she was in her earlier career life.  So while the opportunity looked like a great match in terms of expanding her experience, it crossed one of her boundaries regarding the amount of travel that she was willing to do currently.  Instead, she found a position that honored her boundaries while still giving her additional sales experience and is reaping the satisfaction and rewards of her work aligning with her core values.

So, what does this mean for you?  How can you adopt healthy boundaries with your work?  First, determine what your core values or non-negotiables are. Second, seek out the opportunity to make some adjustments within your current role to re-contract those boundaries.  If there is no opportunity for adjustments based on the needs of your current role, perhaps it is time to consider what your next steps will be so your career and your non-negotiables are more aligned.  It’s in this alignment that you will find greater satisfaction as you work to live rather than live to work.


Lesley provides individualized coaching to professional moms who are seeking greater satisfaction in their careers.  She helps working mothers uncover their God-given gifts, name their non-negotiable values, and align their career path with those gifts and values to have a greater impact on the world.  Access Lesley’s free self-assessment to determine how well you recognize and use your God-given gifts!