I cleaned out a couple of drawers in my office this afternoon. No, I didn't find any money. (I did find a dollar in the pocket of my pants, but that's beside the point.) What I did find is something that wasn't really lost, only forgotten. Under the lint brush, envelope of boarding passes, three different colors of gift bag tissue, and user guide for my mobile phone was my little stash of nice notes. Over the years I've saved some of the nice things people have sent me. Some go on my bulletin boards, but some are slightly more private or personal, so I tuck them away in the drawer for days like today. We all have days like today -- a hectic morning, a horrible three-hour conference call with a client, no lunch until 4:00. In the stack are emails that I've printed, birthday wishes, etc. One note that stood out for me was from one of my favorite former coworkers on the occasion of my fourth anniversary with the firm: Way to go -- you rock! Your work vibe is sooooo contagious!
I've thought a lot lately about what it means to be a work-a-holic. I know some people have that image of me. Perhaps it's denial, but I don't really think I am. I love my work. I like doing a good job. I like making things happen. I like my coworkers. I'm willing to put in the time needed to get things done. And I like having a life. I love that moment when something is done and I can put the folder away and go out and enjoy the rest of the day or the weekend. I have no trouble not checking email while I'm on vacation. Despite a short infatuation with the Motorola Q, I don't want to be digitally tethered to work. I don't NEED to check in with the office and they somehow manage to survive without me when I'm gone. (Leslie, feel free not to mention the time someone tracked me down at your house.) I am able to create boundaries for myself that allow me to have a full life both at work and in the world.
So maybe other people think I'm a work-a-holic. And that's okay with me. I'm just gonna keep doing with I'm doing until what I'd doing doesn't work anymore. And then I'll do something different. If there's a better way to run a life than that, I sure as hell don't know what it is.