Work Life Stories

Exploring how work events affect personal life

Final Research Paper Ready!

It’s been awhile but the final research paper based on the great feedback provided through the surveys and posts is available.  It’s published through Athabasca University Library, but has open access.  Here’s the link to

Exploring the Ripple Effect of Organizational Decisions on Non-work Experience

Thank you all for your contributions!



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If You Could Change the World…

Whether you’ve had great work experiences or terrible work experiences, there have probably been many times when you’ve thought about workplace decisions that you’d like to see.  This is your chance to talk about those from the viewpoint of your personal, family and social life. 

If you could make one decision or change one thing in your workplace that would improve your personal, family or social life, what would it be?  Who would it affect?  How would it benefit you at work, personally, with your family or with your friends?  (Let’s agree though, that everyone would like more money or a promotion, so those don’t count! 🙂

And to wrap up our project, please go to the last Work Life Stories survey: Workplace Decisions, so we can collect the final information we need for this project.  Here’s the link:

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Wins at Work…

Sometimes it’s easy to focus on the issues, challenges and stress that we have at work and forget about the positive contributions of our work experiences.  Often these are subtle and easily taken for granted.  We would all readily admit that we appreciate just having a job and because of that being able to provide for ourselves and our families as well as be involved in social activities.  These are results that we know but don’t always recognize.  What about decisions made at work that are intended to improve the workplace or work experience for staff? 

Improvements to the work experience take a little longer to identify.  We know that getting a promotion or a salary increase usually results in positive benefits for our families, and we should recognize and note that.  It is possible, however, for a promotion or salary increase to be a ‘win’ for the workplace, but have a different result in our personal life, for example if it demands more of our time or a change in activities or social relationships.  What about decisions to allow flextime, or work from home options, or perhaps employer daycare services? Can improvements in benefits and status, enhanced working environment or resolved problems in the workplace have a different effect on your family & friends than expected?

The third project survey is about Workplace Wins – decisions and changes in the workplace that are intended to improve your life, and how these have affected your personal, family and social life.  Please contribute through the survey link, and share any stories, comments or other observations by providing comments to this post.

Workplace Wins Survey:

Please take a moment to answer this quick poll as well, before you go to the Workplace Wins Survey – Thanks!



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Talking About Stress…

Stress at work can affect you in many ways.  Even when it seems to relate only to something at work, the effect of that stress can spill over into our personal lives.  It may be easy to see the link between something like job loss and consequences on your family, but any stress we experience is likely to have a ripple effect into on our family and friends.  This could lead to changes in relationships, activities or attitudes (positive and negative).  Often, though, we don’t think of how we’re transmitting our stress into these other domains. 

Help us understand how stress affects you by responding to the second Work Life Stories survey on Workplace Stress:

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Workplace Stress = Fewer Male Births?

In a Dec 17th article, the Economist presents a shocking story header: “Stressed mothers spontaneously abort male fetuses”.  The article focuses on a study that concludes that stress – specifically workplace stress in this instance – is linked to an increase in spontaneous abortions of male fetuses and a drop in male births.  This apparent link between stress and sex-selection at conception isn’t new, but the extension of this effect of stressful emotional conditions on existing pregnancies – often long after conception – had not been investigated prior to this.  Further studies are planned to look into stress and hormone levels, to clarify and further this study’s observations.

 In terms of Work Life, this is an extreme example of the effect of workplace experiences on personal life.  This study establishes one clear – and unfortunate – consequence of workplace decisions (mass unemployment) on not only an individual, but also on their family.  In this case, the link was not predictable as a consequence of the workplace decision. We would expect that unemployment, job layoffs and the associated loss of income will have an effect on self-esteem, lifestyle, relationships and social activities. What other personal and social implications are associated with employment loss or reductions? 

 If you’ve been through a layoff, termination or salary reduction, how did it affect you? Other than the income issues, did you find it changed home or social relationships? What was your view of your employer? How did you feel toward other authorities in society? Did you grow closer to your friends or more distant?  Did you resent or respect those who weren’t affected by the workplace decision? How did you feel toward those who were affected?  More importantly, if you were one of the ‘survivors’ of a workplace reduction, how did you find your personal and social relationships changed?

Share your views, your experiences and your observations by participating in the Work Life Stories Project:

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Talking about Work…

As you answered the first survey, you probably started thinking about some specific workplace changes that you have experienced. Please take a few minutes here to share details about those experiences with others, explaining a little more about:

  • the type of change (policy, practice, benefits, management decisions)
  • who or what area was affected by the change 
  • how the change was received by yourself and others 
  • how that change affected you in the workplace

If you haven’t participated in the survey yet, please go to the survey site as well:


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Sharing Your Stories about Work and Life

We spend most of our waking hours in the workplace, interacting with others within that culture, making decisions that fit the policies, practices and traditions of the organization and taking actions associated with that environment. This project is exploring any potential relationship between decisions within the work environment and attitudes or behaviours outside the workplace. When something changes in the work environment, is there a ripple effect that extends to your personal and social life?

We’ll do this exploration through a series of surveys, poll questions and open topic discussions where you can share your own views and experiences with others. There is no right or wrong viewpoint related to this research, and no anticipated outcome other than to identify potential patterns linking workplace and personal lives, and to categorize the type of patterns that emerge.  Please feel free to share experiences from your past work experiences, or from your current workplace – whichever is most relevant to the topic.  Also please note that you do not need to identify yourself or your workplace in any discussion.

I’m looking forward to reading about your experiences and perceptions!  Thank you for your time and contributions.


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