Interrupt.


Work is a funny thing for me. At times I’m dedicated to getting the job done and doing what I have to do, while at others I’m as lax as they come and take none of it seriously. Day-to-day my temperment changes and I’m not exactly sure why. Perhaps it’s how valued or valuable I feel? How much sleep I got the night before? The number of other duties (such as union matters) I have to attend to? Some combination most likely, but always compounded by the number of interruptions I get early on in my day.

By interruptions, I don’t mean work-related calls or emails. If I am forced to respond to urgent matters first thing, it pretty much always sets me on a track of focused working up until my lunch hour. Rather, it is the newsy-chatty atmosphere that our office can be first thing in the morning that gets me off to a bad start.

I should say outright that I really love my co-workers and appreciate the fact that we have good relationships in our office. But truth is, I’m not much of a morning chat person, preferring instead to spend my first hours responding to email and working on projects. Morning is when I’m naturally able to do more of the focus work, whereas afternoon tends to be where my attention wanders away from my desk and towards more social things. Admittedly, morning is also when I like to get my blogging in – even if I have other work stuff going on…. which means that I’m trying to cram a lot into my first few hours in the office. Neither writing here, or attending to work routine is particularly time consuming – but both require an period of unbroken concentration.

Of course this wouldn’t be a problem if it wasn’t for the open office environment in which I work – for if it’s not direct interruptions (someone talking to me), then it’s the fact that every other phone call and conversation within a five foot radius can be overheard (my officemates have to listen to me too) which is terrible for my attention-span as well.

While I can keep my head down, scuttle into my cubicle without so much as a good morning, and plug myself into my headphones and computer – I know also that I’m regarded as somewhat anti-social when I do so. Bad enough that I never join in for morning coffee and frequently schedule early conference calls to take advantage of my productive periods. Some time ago it became apparent to me that saying good morning and engaging in pleasantries is pretty much required in an environment as close as ours. (I never used to until I realized that a woman I once supervised found me entirely unapproachable because of it, which is a shitty way to feel about your boss).

Even when I fully get into morning gossip with my co-workers and I am in a wittier mode than usual, it still means poor productivity for the rest of the day – leaving me feel both unvaluable and unvalued in general. Work is still ridiculously important to my sense of accomplishment and well-being after all – and I do get paid to produce for the employer (as we all do – my fellow workers here seem more able to focus in this environment than I do).

It seems to me if I could just have a private office for the first three hours of the day I would fare much better – both in terms of other people not having to deal with my morning grumpiness, and being able to start my day off with more work energy. I know that employers feel they get more out of their employees in the “open office” but I’m pretty sure that in my case they get a lot less than they otherwise might. I suppose in the meantime more early conference calls or mid-morning deadlines are the tools I need to motivate myself with. You know, so there’s actually a reason for them to pay me coming in here.

(Any co-workers reading this, realize this is entirely my defect and I know it!)

One Comment on “Interrupt.

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