About a month ago, my cell phone was thrown into a bag at the pool along with the kids’ pool toys. Next thing ya know, I am pulling my phone out of several inches of water at the bottom of a bag and feeling a sense of dread come over me… “Oh no… I won’t have a phone while I am out of town next week.” I am not being sarcastic in the least, “dread” might actually be an understatement. I was disconnected for several days, and I felt completely isolated and out of touch. Not only could I not easily call my wife during the day to tell her how much I adore and miss her, I could not easily tell my children to be good for their momma, but I could not contact clients. I could not check emails. Egads, man, I could not check emails!!!
MSN Careers says that I am a workaholic. I think they might be right.
- I blog at all hours of the day (it’s 10:15 PM right now and I am writing to you, dear reader). Mostly I write about work stuff, so it can be argued that blogging is work. The sick thing is that I consider that more of a hobby than work, although I occasionally use my blog to let people know about work-related stuff.
- I take my Windows Mobile phone with me everywhere, and I constantly read emails. I read emails on the weekends. I read emails during my son’s hockey practice, during my daughter’s gymnastics lessons, at the pool, on the golf course, even at church a couple times. I read emails during vacation. In fact, my last vacation was no vacation at all since I had several meetings scheduled that caused a flurry of emails.
- I can’t remember the last vacation that I took where I didn’t work the whole time.
- I genuinely enjoy attending and presenting at user groups, which occur after normal work hours. I enjoy participating in Code Camps, which occur on weekends.
- I can’t remember the last time I put in 40 hours or less. That’s not by culture, and certainly not by prodding of management… my boss is constantly telling me to take a breather, to enjoy vacation. I genuinely feel that things are going to fall apart if I step away.
- I constantly feel swamped, so I put in crazy hours trying to keep up with what I think is important. I can find a lot of important stuff to do on any given day, the challenge is focusing on the most important stuff and letting the other really important stuff slide.
Sadly, but I think that the Evangelism role actually requires you to be a bit of a workaholic. Most of the Evangelists that I have talked to feel the same as I do, although I differ in not being able to disconnect on nights, weekends, and vacations.
I am going on vacation this week. I am going to the beach. I am not taking my phone. I am not taking my computer. I am taking my Zune, but I am deleting all work-related videos and only carting music along. On my last vacation, my “light-reading” was “Effective Windows Workflow Foundation”. This time, I am not going to take a “geek book” (my wife affectionately calls them), I am going to buy a non-technical book for the first time in over a year. My out of office assistant message announces to my fellow workers that I am not reachable, whatever it is will have to wait.
I am going to try, once and for all, to disconnect for just a few days.
I honestly don’t know if I can disconnect.