This week has been chaotic. It’s amazing how being out of the swing of things even for a couple of weeks can interfere with our habits and processes. I thought I had this week’s EPtalk nearly written and saved it out to the cloud, only to now be unable to find it (along with another presentation I was working on). A keyword search wasn’t helpful nor were some of the other tricks I tried, so those thoughts will have to wait until they turn up which will hopefully be before next week.
Luckily the presentation is for something several weeks out, so I have time to rebuild it if I can’t find it. I’m also traveling and my laptop’s wireless has been on the fritz, which might have played a role in the mystery of the missing documents. At one point today I was working at a blazing fast 512 kbps, which I haven’t seen in a long time. There’s nothing quite like cloud storage gone wrong.
I’ve also been tunneling through more than a thousand emails that came in while I was away. Many are related to social media and things like LinkedIn, so shame on me for not having adequate filters set up to prevent it my inbox from being an overwhelming mess. I’m grateful for the legitimate mail from readers that keeps me soldiering on.
From Commanding Officer: “You wrote about an ICD-10 code for the psychotic reaction you were going to have when kids were playing games on your flight without headphones. My recommendations are:
- R45.4 Irritability and anger
- F63.81 Explosive disorder, intermittent; Aggressive episodes frequently result in physical or verbal assaults or property destruction (for example, road rage). The individual may report feeling tension prior to the episode, immediately followed by relief.”
I agree with the reader’s suggestion of leaning towards the road rage code. Although we occasionally hear about airline passengers behaving badly, the more I fly the more I continue to be amazed that there are not even more incidents occurring.
From Jimmy the Greek: “With the number of conference calls I’m sure you’ve been on in your career, I thought you’d get a kick out of this quote of the day. A coworker actually said, ‘That’s impossible for us to do, because we’ve never done it before.’ I resisted the urge to ask how she managed to get out of her cave.” Hearing stories like that always makes me feel better about the places I’ve worked. No matter how bad you think it is, the grass isn’t always greener elsewhere. The fact that this comment is from a technology professional at a company known for communications solutions makes it all the funnier.
As for summer adventures, several readers have written to share theirs: hiking, camping, and a safari were included on the list. At least three readers plan to spend time at scout camps with their children. One reader noted that although it was great to unplug, it was not so great to have to spend two whole days reading emails after returning to work. Another travels every year to a working ranch in Montana that I have to say looks pretty incredible.
From High Adventure: “I’ve enjoyed several treks to places with minimal cell phone coverage and what was there, was enough to get the occasional text message or phone call out to family to let them know we’re safe. Not enough to download email or anything like that. As an IT professional who deals with the daily deluge of electronic communications, I find these trips refreshing. But, I’ll confess, you need to learn how to unplug and let go of the work. It’s not easy but you have to trust your team and co-workers to do the right thing. As a leader, if you can’t trust them to do that, you’ve failed in one of your key jobs.” I remember reading a blog piece attributed to Jonathan Bush where he talked about taking a month off for summer vacation with his family. He cited the need to let his team have the experience of managing without him as one of the reasons for taking an extended vacation. That’s great when leaders have seasoned teams below them, but as a consultant, I see a fair number of dysfunctional teams where that would never be an option.
Speaking of vacation, several readers responded to my piece about vacations in modern business culture. One mentioned that his company, Lexmark, went to an unlimited vacation policy in 2013. One reader suggested SCUBA as a great vacation since cell phones don’t function well underwater. Another offered tips for vacationing as a corporation of one:
I also have my own solo business as does my twin sister in the legal field. When one of us is going to be seriously out of touch, we cover each other’s voice and emails just scanning for “must do now” things and sending reassuring messages to those who can wait until the owner gets back. We also have a deal that the person vacationing knows that the other will contact them if something comes up but that they are supposed to relax and not check since they have a proxy on duty who is filtering. You do have to trust the person you partner with (and I know it is harder to get closer than an identical twin) but perhaps something like this would be helpful to you.
That’s a great story. My brother is also an independent business person, but given his entrepreneurial tendencies, he’d probably charge me for the coverage. Luckily right now my file of consulting clients is small enough that I was able to tell everyone my plans in advance and most know me well enough that even if anything urgent came up I’d be able to turn it pretty quickly on my return. I’m sure it won’t be that way forever and I appreciate the idea.
Email Dr. Jayne.