Emails at 9:45PM

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I got to work the other day and saw that one of my coworkers was still sending emails at 9:45pm. Our departments close at 6pm at the latest, so there is no reason to be working nearly four hours after close, especially given the content of the email.  I got pissed.  My first thought was this person is showing off in the absence of our boss.  Then it was along the lines of wow, they’re really trying to climb here.  Then it was who the hell wants to work that late?  Do you have nothing better to do?

Within seconds I heard a voice in my head say, “This isn’t your problem.  This is ego.”  I have never had a message hit me that quickly when starting to spiral with guilt.  Because that was it: I felt guilty that I wasn’t working that late and honestly that I didn’t care to work that late.  I still have some of those people pleasing habits and I know my boss would work 24/7 if given the option—she practically does already—so I felt the rush of, “I need to work that late too! I have so much to do, I need to do everything I can!” wash through me.  But hearing that voice say it isn’t my problem helped me put it in perspective: it doesn’t matter if they work that late.  It doesn’t matter if I do.  If they find joy in doing that and yields results that work for them, great.  I need to find my own thing.

So that is level two: I know I want to create a life where I find joy in every moment and time slips away because I enjoy what I’m doing.  I want the project that keeps me awake with joy and purpose, doing something I WANT to spend time on.  For my coworker, if that means checking emails at 9:45pm, then I won’t begrudge that.  At one point I wanted to take over the industry and fix it.  I wanted to make it work how I saw fit, to make it fair. That is no longer my goal so I don’t need to be awake until 10pm answering those types of emails.  For my purpose, spending time that way is a waste.  My joy is elsewhere, my coworker can keep the thrill of that climb.  My joy comes from a different place and that is ok. We are simply different people in different places in our lives.

I want to acknowledge it can still be frustrating to see things like this, especially for guilt-heavy, people-pleasing, accolade addicts.  Those things take time to heal and to learn to find worth from within.  Human nature is to feel like we need to keep up with those around us, especially when they do things we don’t want to be doing—we somehow think matching what they do will work for us and get the same result.  That isn’t always true.  It is time to let go and be free of the weight of other people’s expectations.  I remember my boss saying at one point the rest of us needed to pick up on something but it had nothing to do with my teams and she threw in that this one person is always picking up.  Well, she left out that those projects belonged with that person. 

Which leads to the last point: we are not all the same.  We can’t be expected to perform as someone else and we can’t hold that over someone when it literally has nothing to do with them.  It’s like demanding you speak another language when you haven’t had any type of training and you aren’t going to any place that requires it.  There is no point to it for them.  Worse, then not demanding the reciprocal.  I’ve had to fill in for areas that have nothing to do my work but other teams haven’t had to help me—so why would I hold myself to the expectation any longer?  That’s a boundary.  We are not the same and working the way you do doesn’t work for me.  So this is a lesson in acceptance and allowing.  My coworker’s actions are no reflection on me and it shouldn’t bother me if that isn’t my path regardless.  We need to walk our own paths and take care of our goals—don’t get distracted by others.  Allow and watch the doors open for you.

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