Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Daily Life: Thoughts Slipping Through A Busy Day

Today was quietly busy here at the office. We're working on a large scale project (a data integrity problem) so everyone has been tightly focused and is crunching numbers and playing with data algorithms, trying to bring order from chaos. We had a hot deadline for a portion of it of close of business (COB) tonight, Pacific time, and we are going to make it. It won't be perfect, but it will be significantly better, and we'll make more strides as we go forward.

One of the challenges I run into as a manager is I often have to force myself to pull back and let my people do their work. Sometimes when the boss tries to help the boss just gets in the way. I have also had to resist doing my Donkey (from Shrek) imitation. "Are we done yet? Are we done yet"?" I know how irritating I always found that when I was an IC (independent contributor).

However, I did run a stand up status meeting a few minutes ago and it looks like we are all green.

Don't you love it when I lapse into corporate-speak? It is a language all it's own and that is even without the acronyms. Start tossing in the acronyms and it becomes a truly alien language. That is actually the whole point - tribes (and organizations) define themselves by sharing a common language. It is a way of quickly identifying who is part of the in group and who is not.'

Weaving in and out of my work related tasks I have had a variety of thoughts running through my head and I am pausing here at work to enjoy a cup of coffee and write them down.

I spent some time today thinking about self-censorship, specifically in terms of blogging. I try to avoid it, but I actually wrote two entries today that will never see the light of day. One was pretty much a pure work vent, letting off steam. I wrote that one, went to lunch, came back, reread it, laughed and deleted it.

The second one I wrote while at lunch and it was an attempt at exploring my tendency to self-censor. It arises out of my reluctance to take someone else's business "to the street", which in turn arises from my strong sense of privacy. Now, that in itself is a little strange - I am generally a very open person, as far as "me".

Where my privacy filters lock down is where other people are involved. I treat virtually everything that is told to me as a confidence - even when it clearly isn't. I am overprotective of it. I tried writing for a while about why that was - but, what I wrote was ultimately confusing and self-serving, so other than a few rolling notes, it also promptly ended up in the delete bin.

Lunch was unsatisfying by the way - a mediocre tuna salad and plain cottage cheese. Nothing looked particularly appetizing at the cafeteria.
I also now have the added pleasure of a stress fracture in my left foot. I have often written about my love of walking and urban hiking. On Saturday when I was in SF we covered a lot of ground and when I got home I noticed bruising and some pain when I rolled my foot, so I stopped by the clinic on Sunday and they took a look at it and taped it. They could not do the x-ray on Sunday so scheduled an appointment for yesterday. I stopped in on the way home, they shot my foot, and then called this morning. I have a stress fracture on the third metatarsal bone.

Fortunately it is not too bad (the doctor said "a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10"). It is only painful if I roll the foot laterally (which twists the bone). They've given me a bracing sock and a space boot. The space boot is this plastic contraption that I can wear if it gets painful. They did not recommend a cast or crutches. They just said be careful when walking and don't exercise walk or run for six weeks. I could swim or use a recumbent exercise cycle (one that doesn't put weight related pressure on the foot), so I may get a temporary gym membership. I can also stretch and do yoga and lift weights from a bench (nothing that requires me to stand and life weights), so I might spend the next six weeks working on flexibility and doing high rep, low weight bench exercises and a lot of sit-ups. I joke that I am too old to get abs of steel, but I can strive for abs of aluminum.

I am going to return to work and then contemplate something simple yet delicious for dinner, based on the unsatisfying results of lunch.

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