Forced Socialization and the Opposite of Productivity

So busy but not getting anything done

Today I seem to be feeling confined, restrained, held down. It’s very claustrophobic, and being made to sit in an office just doesn’t make sense to me. None.

I'll have to admit, I got it pretty good, as I get to work from home two days a week. That’s been pretty consistent. And, during the holidays, I’m able to work from home from Thanksgiving until New Year’s. All in all, not a bad gig. The only thing that would make it better would be working from home 100%.

The idea of working in an office, for any amount of days is so counter-productive to who I am, though. In my line of work, I don’t always need to be a butt in a seat, doing time in an office. And, if there’s an oft occasion I’d need to come in, then I’d just come in.

I’m nearing 50 years old, and have been in the IT sector since I was 18. In the late 90’s, telecommuting capabilities were being introduced, and I was able to work from home once in a while even back then, I’ve always loved it, and thrived in such arrangements. Maybe it’s my military background, or just how I was raised, but I’m self-directed and focused. And as such, I can work unsupervised, and have shown that trait since I was a kid.

Working from home. The peace, the solitude, the productivity. And mostly... the lack of CHAOS.

As I observe my office surroundings, I see people that just don’t seem to come to work to work. They come to socialize, waste time, play, pretty much do anything other than work. And I just don’t get that. Maybe I’m alone in this mindset, as I just don’t like to socialize at work. I much prefer to come to work, get my work done, then leave.

The reason I mostly feel this way is that some people in an office environment just can’t contain themselves. They have to be loud, they have to be chatty, and they can’t just do it alone. They must drag others down with them. If they’re not going to be productive, they’re going to make sure others aren’t going to be either.

One person even brought his drone into the office and flew it around. Really?

And it’s just not work ethic, either. In an office, I have to wait in line to get coffee, go to the bathroom, and order lunch. At home, I don’t have to worry about any of that. So not only do I not have to wait in lines at home, I also don’t have to be disrupted, disturbed, interrupted, annoyed, talked to at the worst time, or be taken out of my zone.

I’m not doing rocket science or neurosurgery, but what I do requires a good amount of thought, contemplation, problem solving, and focus. None of which comes easily when you’re in an office full of overgrown children acting like there’s no one else trying to get anything done.

The other good news is that I don’t punch a time clock, and haven’t done that for decades. I simply refuse to be an IT professional, or any kind of professional, and have to punch a clock and have my breaks timed. If someone can’t trust me to do the things I need to do and is worried down to the minute about what I’m doing, I don’t need to be working there.

So, without that constraint of a time card, I’m never really late to work. Therefore, to a large degree I’m being paid for my results, ad not so much the time I spend producing them. However, with all that, I still come to work to work, get it done, and leave the moment I’m able to. But, the time flexibility comes in handy when I have personal appointments and such, so I never abuse it.

Overall, when it comes to my schedule, how I manage my time during my day, and when or if I take breaks being my choice, I guess I’m not as completely shackled down as I think I am. But, I still feel it, having to be here in an office, subject to other people’s interruptions.

Let’s be real for a second. I don’t put my head down and work through all my breaks and desire to talk to no one because I absolutely love what I do. It’s actually the opposite. I can’t wait to be done with my day so I can rush home and spend time doing the things I do love, with the people I enjoy spending my limited and precious free time with.

I do like my job, but I want to like other things more.

So, unfortunately, I find office conversation and socialization to be a speed bump in my getting things done quickly so I can leave on time and go live the part of my day that really matters to me.

The sad thing about all that is that most days I tend to be done with my work by around 3pm. And, if I’m working from home, that’s fine, there’s plenty to do while still being available should I be needed for something from my employer. At the office, however, I feel like a prisoner, stuck until some alarm rings and they open the cell doors to allow me my evening release.

So, as I look on this, an office is really the absolute worst place to get work done. Between the earnest effort I have to make to avoid time-wasting interaction (without appearing anti-social), getting my things done with the thought and energy required, and getting it done well before the day is through so I can be assured to leave on time, I’m exhausted.

The good news is, that anyone who talks with me, or interacts with me would never know that I’d rather be doing anything than talking and chatting at that moment. I can fake interest with the best of them, and I am sociable, and approachable. Both of which work against me in my quest for solitude in an office setting, but do help when it comes time for annual reviews and pay raises.

But overall, if I were to work from home full time, I wouldn’t miss an office, or people for that matter. That doesn't mean I'm not pleasant to be around, or that I hate people altogether. I just dislike being around loud, inconsiderate people when I'm trying to work.

Instead, I just bide my time, and wonder how I can remove these obstacles that my employer places in front of me and continue to impress them with my high quality results. It’s almost like gambling... the house always wins. And at work, if you’re gonna do a great job, you have to duck and dodge all these distractions and time sucks, while still producing your best work, to get to the highest rating.

And IF you can do all that, you win. But, sometimes, with all that’s going on around me to try to keep me from getting my work done, it seems like a suckers’ bet most days. This just makes me more determined to create the opportunities that will allow me that full time work from home paradise I know can exist.

Ok, end of rant.

Image credit: // Mike Chai - Pexels //

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