We haven't seen each other for a while and decided to meet up for drinks. We sit down, order, unwind and start talking. We get through the small talk, and move onto our work. She works in a bank, I am in a PhD. We almost constantly talk about personal finance research. An hour later I notice that we haven't moved on from talking about work. I tell her this. She raises an eyebrow. "Do you mind talking about work?" she asks. "No, I just noticed it. Kinda funny." I reply. "Why is it funny?" she asks. "Because most people don't like talking about work much after work, and here we are going on and on about." I reply. "Is that a bad thing?" she seems worried now. "I don't think so. I don't really know. What do you think?" We both sit in silence for a while. She's the first one to speak again: "We can talk about something else. Tell me about your social life, tell me about your partner." I tell her about what's happening on campus, how my friends are, how my partner is doing, any fun events I've been to lately and my holiday and travel plans. I ask the same of her. Our chat is natural, flows easily, and within less than 20 minutes we drift back to talking about our work.
To some people, this sounds absolutely horrid. It might seem as we have no lives besides our work. But we do. Quite busy ones in fact. Both of us are social, and are known for being social. We attend plenty of events, make sure to always have time for friends and family (although the latter live in different countries for the both of us). We have many things going on besides our work. Yet our main topic of conversation is our work. We both love it. And we are not ashamed!
There seems to have been put a "bad rep" on talking about your work too much, whatever that may mean. But why? Sure, we can all imagine those parties where you're trying to escape from someone who is just droning on about their work and things associated with it that you don't understand, don't care about or just find plain boring. It has happened to all of us. But that just means you're not enthusiastic about their work. They are. This to me is not a very worrying scenario. I mean, sorry for getting stuck in that conversation, but you'll survive. No, I am much more worried about people who never talk about their job and really don't want to. Why you may ask? Because I believe that this is actively ruining personal development. Now, if you don't want to talk to your significant other about work whilst in the bedroom, that isn't exactly a red flag to me. But if there's no one, not even close friends or colleagues you talk to about your actual work, there might be something going on there. Maybe time to check that out?
It might be about the audience. You might have no one close to you who actually wants to listen to it. First, I'm sorry that's the case. Second, seek out people who do want to listen. Who share the same (professional) interest. A whole new world might open for you. Talking about your work with others might get you some new input and might give you new ideas, or even a whole new perspective! If it's not the audience, but it's either you or the job, it's time to dig a little deeper. If you don't like your job, and the job doesn't like you either, you are stinting your own personal development.
Work is about 1/3rd of our day, about 1/4th of our week and easily more than 1/5th of our year. Given that those same numbers, sort of, apply to our sleep (and we all love talking about that) work is a significant part of our lives. It is something we identify with, in the best case scenario at least. To not talk about work means to not care, to be ashamed or wanting to be rid of it. It means rejecting large parts of your day, of your life even. That's not good for you.
I know there's many people stuck in jobs they don't like, doing it to make a living and move forward in life. And I'm not discrediting anyone who does this. I'm just putting forward that talking about your job (a lot) doesn't deserve the bad reputation it has gotten. Talking about your work (a lot) is an indicator of love and passion (or extreme hatred, but let's leave that to the side for a bit). It means it's an important part of your life. It means you identify, you have grown and developed into it, and as such will grow and develop with it. This is a good thing, especially given the amount of time we do work. If you're into your work, truly love it and want to share that love and enthusiasm. I personally think you found yourself a damn good job. Good for you. So tell me more about it!