Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Managing Perceptions

I had this girlfriend once she used to work for this consulting group that got the insurance companies to fork up what they owed the hospitals. It takes a particular type of person to work for a firm that has you argue and debate for a living. I guess that's what lawyers do. You definitely can't be passive or shy. Gotta be direct, very direct and clear. Anyhow she told me a story about how her boss pulled here aside and talked to her about dying the tips of her jet black hair red, I've seen it, I liked it. But apparently it wasn't good to have red tips when consulting with clients, it was unprofessional. The phrase she apparently used was "managing perception" that's what she had to do that. It really stuck with her because after that she always talked about it - managing your, my, our perception (esp. in light of meeting her parents amongst other things...but we'll save that talk for another day).

I've learned to do that well: manage my perception. I've done it so well that it's actual, no longer a mere managing. I tried to look busy, look efficient, look productive and now I actually became those things, except add the word "am too" in front of all those and omit the "look". For some reason tonight I've come to that realization. I was just at a study group and there my mind is thinking about work projects and deadlines instead of the topic of discussion, the evidence is right there on the copy of the study I had, my notes read: intern tour set date, Mon. mtg. time, Wedding, Suzie, Becca, fix labels gmail, label L & F. And then I'm so anxious I can't even be there to chat casually as we leave because I need so badly to get back home so that I could shoot out some work related emails. It then dawned on me as I log in to my email at 10:45 pm. This is no way to live. I'm a prisoner here, where is the freedom? There is no distinction between my work and the rest of my life. When I used to work for Genentech I got in to work at 8 and left at 5 each day and never thought about it again until I went back the next day....that was it, clean, clear, done. Now work taints every part of my life, there is no sacred anymore. And what's life without the sacred....death.

Somethings got to change.

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