It seems a lot of people working in my office live in a master-planned enclave not far from work. I’m sure it’s nice if you’re into jogging trails, tot lots, and clubhouse where they have a monthly movie night. Lawns are mowed and flowers planted by the Home Owners Association and there’s even a gate to keep out the riffraff. I can’t say I’m philosophically opposed to any of those things, really.
What does make my blood run cold was talking to the new boss a few days ago and him saying “Oh yeah, Mr. Bigwig stopped by the house after dinner last night and we went over some new ideas for Big Fancy Project.” Huh? He came to your house? And then he had the audacity to want to talk about work? Not cool.
I think we’ve established now that I’m not a social climber and there’s a pretty slim chance that I’ll ever get invited to a leadership retreat. I get my work done on time and within tolerance, consistently, and with minimal oversight. I do it for eight hours and then when I leave I don’t think about it until I get back the next morning. It’s a time honored system and it works for me. One of the bosses randomly showing up on my doorstep at 7 o’clock wanting to talk shop is way, way beyond the pale. Sometimes it’s good to be reminded why I live way out off the beaten path rather than in town. It seems physical distance from the office is at least as important as mental distance.
Editorial Note: This part of a continuing series of posts previously available on a now defunct website. They are appearing on http://www.jeffreytharp.com for the first time. This post has been time stamped to correspond to its original publication date.