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  • Writer's pictureWhitney Kippes

In and Around

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A while back I caught this podcast episode that has been living rent free in my head (in a good way). There was a lot of great stuff in there, but the piece that is staying with me is actually pretty simple.

When it comes to work, there are two kinds of boundaries that we need.

  1. Boundaries around your work, which protect your professional life from the rest of your life and the rest of your life from your professional life so that each gets the space it needs for you to feel happy and fulfilled in both.

  2. Boundaries within your work, which establish what you will and won't accept as treatment from other people within the workplace.

For example, a boundary around your work may be the times of day that you will pay attention to work or a physical boundary like closing your office door (or just leaving the office) at the end of your work day. A boundary within your work, on the other hand, would be like maintaining "no meeting Fridays" or calling out certain microaggressions or not accepting more work that you can take on.

This seems to be sticking with me largely because it's such a challenge to do both. I think that it's likely that you feel better at setting boundaries around or in, but not necessarily both.

But the magic would really happen if we maintained both, right?


Maintaining boundaries is hard y'all. Especially at work. It's hard to have both because it's HARD. Just like when you're rocking one part of life, you're probably letting something else go a little, when you're rocking one set of boundaries, you probably don't have the energy you need to maintain every other type of boundary.

Right now, my personal boundaries in my work are stellar. I know how I deserve to be treated and I'm asking for what I'm worth.

But I'm also working literally around the clock. So those boundaries around my work? Basically out the window.

And the result is that even though I feel great about what I'm doing within my work, the lack of boundaries around my work is making me feel less boss, more worn down, more generally exhausted.

This was a great reminder to me that I need both. I want both. And if I want this career I've worked so hard to achieve to actually be sustainable, I need to take a breath and look at what boundaries around my work could support that in becoming a reality.


Assessing your boundaries is a great place to start if you aren't sure what boundaries you might need. (checklist)

Naming boundaries can be an uphill battle, but sharing your boundaries with kindness can help it feel more natural. (article)

Boss boundaries mean boundaries with your boss. (article)

Also, toxic bosses are real. If you're dealing with an abusive boss, start with believing it's real and knowing when to walk away. (article)

Want to save yourself some cash? Better boundaries can literally save you money . (article)


Want to feel more connected? Consider joining one of our Boss-to-Boss cohorts. These peer networks are designed to foster community in our inherently competitive world.

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