January 24, 2006

One of my buttons involves my perception of some one crossing my boundaries. We all have various “lines in the sand” that when crossed provoke a response; one of mine is the demarcation between my professional life and my personal life.

For years I struggled with the issues of the work day long after I had left work for the day. It took me a long time to learn how to mentally and emotionally leave work, and all its stress, behind when I physically left the site for the day. One thing I learned that truly helped me was that no matter how much I accomplished in a day, or how much of myself I sacrificed on the altar of work, there is always more to do. So when I leave work for the day I no longer want to think about it, or deal with it in any way. You might say my boundary around work is a fairly wide and deep moat.

So last night when I got an email that was work related at my home address it upset me. Yesterday was the last day of my vacation. I was relaxed and comfortable; pleased with the past five days. So getting an email that indicated potential changes in my daily assignments, and asking for input regarding the change at 8:30 pm last evening, seemed to be very controlling, almost insulting to me. This couldn’t wait until tomorrow? It couldn’t have been sent to my work email address? Getting that mail changed my entire mood in just a few seconds. It, in effect, ended my vacation early, and ruined the last evening I had off before returning to the office today.

Although my lesser demons wanted to send a fairly nasty, passive-aggressive response, my better angels prevailed and I didn’t do anything. This morning I replied to the sender saying that it would be best if they came and talked to me in person. Still a bit passive-aggressive, but at least appropriate.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.