Thursday, December 05, 2013

The Way Things Work

If you took one-tenth the energy you put into complaining and applied it to solving the problem, you’d be surprised by how well things can work out… Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won’t make us happier.
― Randy Pausch

Oh, my. So Thanksgiving happened, and NaBloPoMo ended, and I went back to work on Monday and it has been days on end of bitching and moaning. Surprisingly, most of it is not coming from me! 

I recently came across this article on the Greatist site, and while I don’t work in a cubicle, I do work in a shared office with no divider. Working in a shared space means that you are always painfully aware of what the other person is doing – for example, when they are on the phone or when someone stops by to ask or answer a question.  Or when they feel comfortable enough to just blurt out whatever comes into their head, regardless of whether you are deep in thought and on the cusp of a breakthrough as revolutionary as the theory of relativity (What? It could happen.).  Also: I am a talkative person anyway, and easily distracted. If you start talking to me I will all too easily start talking back. And then we’ll look up and fifteen minutes have passed and I am still no closer to cracking the next big thing in particle physics, or better yet, finishing up my quarterly fundraising report.

At any rate, this article reports that “employees in cubicles face 29% more interruptions than workers in private offices,” and that those who are frequently interrupted “report nine percent higher rates of exhaustion.” Yeah, that’s right.

The problem with the shared space is exacerbated when the person with whom you share space is having a hard time.  Even when the issue is a legitimate one, because there is another person there to hear the tale of woe, it seems to drag out the issue rather than resolving it. I don’t want to minimize the tale of woe, but I want to make it go away, because my involvement detracts from me getting any of the skazillion projects I am working on completed in any coherent or satisfactory way.

I am currently putting together a pitch to convince my boss to let me work from home at least one day a week. I think I will be way more productive if I don’t have to manage multiple interruptions. If she doesn’t go for it, it does not bode well for my future here. Sweet Dub’s schedule has been changing lately and I may need more flexibility, so perhaps I should be looking for a different environment anyway.
What’s your ideal work environment?


Bridget said...

I hope your pitch works and that you are able to work from home. I like being around like minded people but tend to find too many people around me to be exhausting. So I guess I run hot and cold as far as work environments go.

Bridget said...

I just reread that last comment of mine. I don't make any sense sometimes. New Personal Rule: Don't type while tired. (This is an example of a "too many people" day.)

Lisa Blah Blah said...

No, I got it. It sounds like you are similar to me, a very social introvert. You like being around people for a time, but too long and it drains your energy. I need alone time to recharge and focus.