Forget thinking…I want to work outside the box

A few posts back I wrote about my experience at Impact99.  I have now had more time to digest the day and have come to the conclusion  that I’m screwed.

You see, I am not a lazy person at all.  I like to work.  I like to be accountable for things.  I like to help people.  I like to see results.

What I don’t like is doing things for the sake of doing it.  And what I’ve found is that we have made these kind of things such a big part of our jobs and work environment.  We stick with the tried and true…like meetings with paper flipcharts, or status upates that are light on value and heavy on the justification, or coming into an office and working on a computer.

I know.  That last one is a bit off, but hear me out.

This week I woke up on Tuesday, thought about my day ahead and immediately put myself into a funk because I knew that as I hauled my sorry butt out of bed (at the same time I did the day before  and the days before it) that I would go through the same routine of getting ready, do the hour commute in to work, and sit myself down to work on things that involved focus and staring at my computer screen.  Of course, there would be interruptions, because I’m a person sitting at my desk just begging for someone to come by and ask me something. I would then pack up and do the hour and half commute home (yes, I know…weird), enjoy my evening and then get ready for the next day.

Wash. Rinse. And Repeat.

What had me so out of sorts was that I could have broken the routine…got ready and then instead of hanging with 100 of my BFFs on the bus for an hour…I could have been working.  And the hour and half with the going-home crew…I would still be working.  And that time that I was chatting with people about the proper level of punishment for those who steal other people’s food from the fridge…yup, still working.

You see I want to work.  I just didn’t want to go to work. And it frustrated me so much that I couldn’t just make that decision.

Well, that’s not entirely true.  I could have made that decision, but then I would need to be subjected to the conversation about how we want to be a flexible work environment, and we will accommodate people, but on an exceptional basis. And with approval.  And due consideration of the optics of HR being given special privileges.  So, I weighed the pros and cons and considered which battle I wanted to fight that day. And my revolutionary bad-self lost.

I used to joke that retirement was wasted on the old because there is so much I wanted to do and things I needed to take care of, but didn’t have the time.  I wanted the freedom and flexibility of not working NOW.  However, I’ve come to realize…I do want to work.  On most days I like working, but I’m really struggling with the idea of having to be so structured and regimented in my schedule – regardless of what’s in my calendar.

Going into the office because I have a meeting, or interviews, or need to work closely with a co-worker makes sense.

Going into the office because someone has decided it’s important that I be seen there does not make sense.

Sometimes you can have a sense that something is off, but you just can’t put your finger on it.  You look at it from multiple angles, Google it, talk to people about it, and just want to understand what is it that’s wrong.  Well finding out the answer isn’t always better.

Now that I’ve identified what it is that is bugging me, I’m at a cross-road of how to proceed.

I know that when Jody Thompson spoke at Impact99 and talked about ROWE that her ideas excited some people, frightened others, and didn’t resonate with others. I would put a bit of me in each of these categories. I simultaneously love the concept, can’t imagine trying to implement it at my work, and feel it might just be too out there.  I did not come back to work thinking that I was going to convince our CEO to go ROWE.  If I did, I would likely have to change my blog to Accidentally Unemployed HR.

What I came back with was a sense of how can I make this work for me.  And I mean that in the most unselfish way possible.  I don’t mean I’m only about me…what I hope to accomplish is a coming of terms and possible negotiation that will work for both me and my company.  Maybe through small babysteps I can set the tone and demonstrate that it is possible to work differently.

The organizers of Impact99 gave each participant a nice card when we left and on the cover was the following quote:

“I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that.  Then I realized I am Somebody” – Lily Tomlin

Yeah. What she said.

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One thought on “Forget thinking…I want to work outside the box

  1. Pingback: Best Blogs 8 November 2013 | ChristopherinHR

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