Read Cindy's bio and previous columns
November 12, 2007
Home or Work? Where Am
Lately, I have been
having senior moments when I can’t remember whether I’m at home or I’m
at work. I’m starting to find full separation of job and family close to
impossible, especially when my son is sleeping, out with his dad or
otherwise preoccupied in a manner that doesn’t involve me.
For example, I can no
longer tell the difference between doing laundry and preparing for a
weekly meeting. Both chores are never-ending. Just like I swear I washed
that long-sleeved black t-shirt a week ago, I’m pretty sure I wrote the
same update memo seven days ago. I sent the same meeting reminder to the
same people, who will meet in the same conference room and discuss the
What really makes me
nervous is that next week, I’ll add “Detroit Lions Boxer Shorts” as an
agenda item for my meeting, and be forced to explain that one to my
Laundry isn’t the only
chore that I can no longer discern from a work responsibility. Just last
week, I attended a day-long brainstorm session. Eight hours. No less.
Sitting in the same chair, looking at the same scenery (hey – at least
this conference room has a window!). Drinking tea from the same hot
water pitcher that hadn’t been warmed up since breakfast.
It reminded me of the
Saturday before when I conquered the window cleaning in my house. It
took several hours. It put me in a couple of uncomfortable positions.
And at the end of both days, I didn’t feel like I’d accomplished much. I
just felt sweaty, exhausted, and ready for a martini.
Then there are those
work situations that are a lot like changing a diaper. They’re really
stinky and painful, but as long as you can convince the other party to
stay still, you can get them over quickly. Changing dirty diapers is a
daily task, as is dealing with the project manager who e-mails you daily
asking about late projects.
For each, I find it
helps to first hold my breath for a brief moment. Then, find a
distraction to make the other party involved realize that the situation
isn’t so bad, and that remaining still and quiet will help. For my son,
it’s usually a truck of some sort. For my project manager, I find a good
list of other – and higher – priorities to be my best defense.
Picking up toys and
checking my e-mail are the other daily chores that I’m finding all too
similar. I often do both once everyone else is sleeping. Both go into an
“inbox,” some to be accessed again for several days in a row, and others
to end up at the bottom, saved because they’re sure to be needed later,
only they never are.
Not to mention, some
toys talk back, like the electronic baseball tee that – no matter how
lightly I might touch it – yells very loudly “It’s a double!” and shocks
the heck out of me. Likewise, even if I send an e-mail at 5 a.m., there
are some people who will respond right away. They shock me just as much,
but I can’t turn them off.
Of course, I know
exactly how to solve this little problem. First, I need a housekeeper.
Of course, the goal this time would be to find one that doesn’t quit
after two months to “find herself.” I hated to tell the last one this,
but she could have just looked for herself in our spare bedroom closet.
Once I’ve successfully
employed a housekeeper, I’ll comb Hollywood for my stunt double. She can
(at least) sit in my day-long meetings for me, accomplishing feats of
creative and strategic amazement that would speed the decision-making
process no matter how large the committee.
confusion between work and home responsibilities is spreading to cloud
the difference between my dreams and reality, too. I just hope I don’t
get caught drooling on my keyboard.
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This is Column # CD069.
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