I don’t know about you, but I start to get mean up when I am backed into a corner. The main way this is accomplished is by having no options. One (un-)choice or one absolute rule being enforced and my brain goes into melt-down.
This especially happens when it comes to my schedule. Time slots dictated to me by others is my Achilles heel. If I do not get to choose what to work on when I am ready to work on it, then you won’t get much work out of me. Period. Am I alone in this?
A meeting or appointment that pops up on my calendar when I’d rather be solving an interesting problem can cause such mental strife that I shock myself. Sometimes it tempts me to just ignore it. Other times I think about running away. In the end, usually as I think about my bank account, I acquiesce and bow to the schedule, frustrated and resistant.
The worst example of this, though, is my daily cage. You may know it as the more common term of office. This is my melting point on weekday morning. The required 40 hours of seat time regardless of contribution can reduce me to a toddler throwing a temper tantrum. If I’m not engaged in a puzzle that needs solved, I don’t want to be there. For the most part, the only mental exercise my cage gives me is the puzzle of how I can try to avoid it this time.
I argue. I plead with the clock. I check my temperature, praying for a fever. I also come up with some rather creative if not less-than-plausible ideas—e.g. elective surgery—to gain my freedom from the prison. But I am a responsible adult and I make myself show up, hanging my head in defeat.
It is the one puzzle I have not yet solved. I cannot avoid it. I will return to it again next week. But for now, I have three days away from the cage. Maybe I can think of something I haven’t thought of yet that just might work!