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. 

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