Monday, July 30, 2012

Drawing lines in the sand

Over time I have changed my tactics for defining my personal space. 
When I was younger I distinctly remember identifying the border between my brother and I in the backseat of our parent's car.  The double-stitched piping.  That was it.  He was not to cross into my space or risk death by tattling. 

I've since matured, having realized that writing my name on personal objects and drawing lines in the sand were effective measures for delineating "my space", but lack a certain finesse needed for today's world.

So while my need for personal space has not changed, I find that my ways of dealing with this have had to because apparently taping lines on the office floor is not viewed as acceptable "team-player" behaviour.  Truthfully I have never been that bad.  No honestly, I haven't. 

Despite what people who actually know me will tell you - I'm cool.  I just need a bit of space.  Okay, I need about a 1.5m circle of space.  But that's all about the physical - that's easier to work with.  You get too close, I take a step back. 

So what about the non-physical?  As in, you text/ email/ call me incessantly....uh, I mean too frequently for my liking.

I have a colleague who I enjoy working with, but she's much more "connected" than I.  And by "connected" I mean she is virtually attached to her BB and texting non-work people while at work and work people while not at work.  And I was on that list until recently.  I would receive texts from her minutes after leaving the office asking me if I had left...and then we would chat about things.  Which, I actually didn't mind.  Until she started texting me when I was at talk about work-related, but not work, things.  She needed to vent, needed a sounding  board...I get it, but at the same time I was thinking that this was getting dangerously close to my space. Then came the phone calls to me at work when she was home sick or on vacation...yeah.

So a few weeks back I went on vacation and when I go on vacation, I disconnect.  I do not check my work emails, I do not check my voice messages, I do not call in to see how things are going.  I realize that I am fortunate enough to have a job and work culture that allows this.  I also realize that my choice to do so may limit me in my career.  I am okay with that, because truthfully what I envision as my legacy has absolutely nothing to do with being a diligent employee who always responded to her emails/texts within 20 minutes or working 60 hours/week.

While I was off I received one text during my vacation asking me if I was having a good time.  I responded that yes I was and thank you for asking.  Stop. End.

That's rightr people, keep moving, there's nothing to apologize for here.

So even though there were no issues during my absence and I had left everything in order, I noticed that my colleague was distant when I came back.  (Sigh).  Not one to leave shit alone I spoke to my colleague and made a point of mentioning that while we h(ave  very different approaches to work, I believe we are a good team and I hoped she had not taken it personally that I did not contact her during my vacation (honestly, I did say this and I cringe at the fact that I actually did...gawd!). 

As expected she said everything was fine and she completely understands. 

I'm not sure that she did, but she does now.

And that was my point out the line in the sand.  I may  not be able to stop people from crossing it, but at least I can give them fair warning. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Postcards from my hammock

I’m quiet and laying low these days.

I’m in my summer reading mode which means that I am all about absorbing and not big on sharing.
I'm reading everything - fiction (of course), non-fiction (really), and HR blogs (a fine balance of fiction & non-fiction).

Once I hit my saturation point I will wring out the pearls of wisdom that are expected from this blog.

Until then, I’m ruminating about how to deal with a colleague with balance and boundary issues, how I feel about HR metrics, and how to successfully handle shit that you don’t feel like you should be handling.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Puzzles, my day so far and apparently I’m human

There are days that are a challenge because you don’t have enough hours to complete the amount of work that you need to do. There are days that are challenging because you don’t have enough to do in your day. And then there are days that are challenging because you’re just not in the right mindset to deal with reality.

That’s where I am today.

I really like puzzles – all kinds of puzzles. I can spend a ridiculous amount of time focusing on trying to solve something that really has no value other than a sense of accomplishment. The difficulties with some types of puzzles, let’s use Sudoku as an example, is that if you make one wrong selection it may not prevent you from continuing, but it certainly fucks everything up. You get to the end and realize that things are just not going to work out.

At this point I typically just scribble all over the page and start a new one.

And so my day began along this track. A decision to sleep a bit later, subsequently skip breakfast, and just float into work has resulted in me not being able to focus and reacting to things that I really shouldn’t be reacting to (an uncharacteristic minor, very, very minor…*cough, cough* melt down *cough*).

Oh, and to make it interesting, it would appear that everyone in the office who has noticed an error or mistake I’ve made in the last month has decided to bring it to my attention today. (I actually checked our Corporate Calendar to make sure I hadn’t noticed a “HR Screw-up Recognition Day” posting.)

Yes I will be able to function and get through the day, but by all standards, it seems pretty fucked up. So, I’ve decided to mentally scribble over my morning thus far and start a new one.

I’ve apologized to the colleague that I reacted badly to (although she now knows I’m actually human…there was a rumour to the contrary), I’ve eaten breakfast, had a couple of cups of coffee, and re-focused on what needs to be done.

Already I notice a difference – the pieces just seem to be fitting together.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Twitter: the ultimate static noise

I was going to go off on a rant last week about Twitter, but someone else beat me to the punch (and in true form he said what I was thinking, but in a much more persuasive and intelligent way). So I figured I would just let it go.


Not that I think there’s anything wrong with Twitter per se, it’s more about some of the users. It’s not unlike how I feel about dogs. On the surface it may appear like I don’t like dogs, when in fact I have nothing against dogs, it is just certain dog owners that drive me nuts.

So back to Twitter.

Twitter is the social media equivalent of small talk - something that I’m not overly fond of. You could argue that perhaps this is because I’m not very good at it and you would probably be correct in your assessment.

Do I do it, yes – small talk has a purpose – it allows you to test the waters with a person without revealing too much, it establishes rapport, it allows you to share ideas at a high level, and it fills the voids.

It’s the “fill the voids” part that I find hard. I’m okay with silence. I’m okay with not talking all the time, and I’m not overly fond of talking for the sake of talking.

So, again back to Twitter.

Twitter is a great place to get tidbits of information, to see the headlines, and to get that 10,000 foot view of what might be happening in someone else’s world. I follow a few people/ organization who do this well. Of course they sometimes share offbeat things or random points…but that’s cool, they are people and it can’t be relevant, all the time.

What I don’t have time or patience for are the tweets for the sake of tweeting. The constant barrage of quotes, the minute running commentary of whatever the hell you are doing at every given moment, or the “inside jokes” (seriously, that’s what email/texting is for). It's like static noise on the radio.

I don’t follow a lot of people on Twitter. This isn’t because I don’t make an effort to go out and find interesting people…I do, and I follow them and then if they manage to take over the airwaves with blah, blah, blah…I un-follow them. No harm, no foul.

Nor would I be offended if someone did the same to me.

When it comes to Twitter, I’m inconsistent at best. I don’t share much in terms of industry knowledge, I typically share/ comment on others tweets, sometimes throwing in a cheer/jeer about whatever hockey game I’m watching, the weather or the day of the week it happens to be. (Yeah, did I mention I’m Canadian?)

So really, who am I to judge others?

I judge because I am the person who is not going tell you what I’m eating for lunch on a daily basis, where I am (à la four-square) at any given freakin’ moment, or provide inspirational quotes by Ghandi, Steve Jobs, or Katy Perry.

I will judge because there are always people that take things to the extreme and assume that if the ideal is 5 tweets per day then 50 must be even better.

I will judge because people either forget or chose to ignore the fact that Twitter is a public forum and decide to have on-going, 140-character limited, private conversations with another Twit, oblivious to the fact that the rest of us are reading. (Now if only there was a way for two people to communicate to each other without everyone else listening in….Now that would be cool!).

I will judge because it’s in my nature and it gives me something to blog about.

And for those that don’t agree, I am okay with that – you don’t have to read or comment on my tweets or blog posts.

I’m comfortable with silence.