Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Suitcase Livin'

I got word that I'll be leaving on Sunday for a week in Tokyo. I returned from Okinawa last week, and was supposed to be in Hong Kong this week and Nagasaki next week, but those plans have changed. Eeek.

I went to put my ticket to Tokyo on hold today and I asked for a refundable/changeable ticket. The Japanese agent couldn't figure out why I needed a changeable ticket when I'm supposed to leave in four days. It was a long discussion. She wanted to know what could possibly change in four days. I wanted to say, "Everything!" but instead I said, "Never mind~" and decided to purchase the non-refund/non-change. I'm a risk-taker, aren't I? I try to divide my business between two travel agencies on base just because I travel so much that I get uncomfortable using only one. (You have to live on a tiny military base outside of the U.S. to get that.) So even though this group is only aware of about 1/2 of my normal travel schedule, the clerk made an interesting comment to me while writing up my itinerary. She was looking at the paperwork and suddenly muttered, "No animal."

"I'm sorry, what?"

"No animal."

"What animal?"

"No animal. No pet."

What's going on? I thought. "Me? No, I don't have pets."

She said, "Good."

I felt so judged. Like I had a closet full of kitties at home that I'd already starved to death, and one more getting ready to die of loneliness next week.

I've been thinking a lot lately about how much I worry about work and work/life issues. I had a day on Monday that made me understand why people go postal. I wish I could write about my job here, but it's probably best that I can't. The issue is multi-layered for me because I'm a naturally intense person, and a bit of a workaholic, but I like to play hard, too. I think the fact that I'm working overseas is a complicating factor in one sense -- I don't live here because my family or friends are in the area, or because I like the weather. I moved to Japan 100% because of the job. I've stayed here for other reasons, but I definitely wasn't considering this remote village as an ideal place to live before the job came along. Anyway, I don't know if that all makes sense, but it's brewing in my brain. My colleagues and I often talk about how we wish time away so often, (does a day go by that I don't say "I can't wait until this quarter is over"?), and how that type of living is so out of alignment with who we are. All I know for sure is that there isn't an easy answer for me. A pithy quote about "balance" might solve it for someone else, but I need to really think through the issues involved and find the best way to deal with it for myself.

Before I leave for my trip, I'm hoping to catch up on some Slacker Manager reading, specifically the "Is Work Personal?" and "The Secret Art of Managing Your Boss" articles. (I have some bosses that need managing.) I also want to check out some links that have come through lately from the interesting comments I've been getting. I'm enjoying being exposed to a wider circle of input, opinions and people.

That's all for now! Talk amongst yourselves.

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