Friday, December 3, 2010

Opting Out

There are so many times in life when I've really genuinely wanted to say "Stop the Bus, I'm getting off." Opting out. Just walking away. Maybe not even forever, but just out of a meeting. Or out of a work day. Conscientious objecting to business situations - or personal situations. Just saying - this is no longer working for me. I'm out.

Now, there are a few things of which you can opt out. I once opted out of Curling in a teambuilding situation. I had one foot covered in teflon and some rubber broom in my hand, and I thought "My pants are going to split. I'm wearing pink underwear. I hate all these people. I'm leaving this job in 3 months. I want a beer." And I got off the ice. Smart move, too. No one looks good throwing a curling stone.

In retrospect, maybe I should have opted out of the team-building shoot off too.  But that was sort of fun. And we only shot clay pigeons. But it never occurred to me that I could opt out of assigned tasks. Actual work. I could, presumably, find someone better suited to do some of it. Delegate, if possible. I could, in theory, leave it to rot in my inbox until such time as it was no longer relevant. But, to say "You know, I just don't see how I can complete this task." and walking away.. that never seemed like an option. Particularly when the barrier between me and completion was basically just a bit of hard work.

And yet, today, I saw something I never thought I would see. Or hear, as the case may be. A man said precisely that. He said to me "I can't see how I can add value and complete this task. It is too confusing." and walked away. DISCONNECTED FROM THE CON CALL. The task still needs doing. Of course, I am going to do it. Of course, I am happier in some respects, because he was in no way qualified to do it, not by virtue of his kindness or his brain, but because he clearly didn't want to do the heavy lifting. And I would have had to spend all my time basically goading him onwards and helping him complete the task. BUT - I never expected him to actually just opt out.

I'm baffled.

1 comment:

PD said...

your description of curling was so hilarious!