Getting Your Mind Off Of Things

A post yesterday stated that I was about to play SimCity while at work.

“OMFG, you play games at work?!?”

Yup. Sure do. I play “SimCity 4: Rush Hour” when I am thinking about stuff. I play “Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory” when I’m stressed out.

“Does your boss know about this?”

She sure does. In fact, the other day a fire started in my city and I paused our conversation while I dispatched fire trucks.

“She’s okay with it?”

Sure. She’s been a friend of mine for years so she’d say something if it was a problem. She knows I get a lot of stuff done, and also knows that people need to get their mind off of things sometimes in order for better ideas to happen.

“What do your coworkers think?”

Well, I sometimes can get them to join me if I find a decent ET server. One of my coworkers was really interested in my solution for garbage truck-related traffic jams. I know at least a couple think it’s an excuse to slack off, but I’m not worried about them. Time will sort them out.

I used to have a bulletin board outside my office. From time to time I’d decorate it. One time it was with 486 motherboards. Another time it was various Microchannel cards. I once made a mobile out of Pentium 60s, ceramic clinking in the wind. My former boss walked up to me once while I was stapling 5.25″ floppy disks all over it. He looked at me and said, “Looking for something mindless to do?” I smiled. He suggested a new pattern.

“Gosh, my boss wouldn’t ever let us do something like that.”

That’s unfortunate. Some people, especially those who aren’t results-oriented, just won’t get it. It isn’t worth trying to convince them, either, because they’ll think you are a slacker and are trying to get away with not working. Of course, if they’re right and you are a slacker then you deserve the reputation. You could try making an organized gaming session out of it but you run the risk of your boss making it a reward. As it turns out, rewards don’t work, at least in the long run.

Look at the high-tech places that you hear about, like Google, Yahoo!, etc. You know why they have laundry facilities, and massage parlors, and stuff like that? Part of it is that it’s convenient, and just cool, but the other part is that it gets people’s minds off of problems. What do you think about when you’re moving your laundry from the washer to the dryer? Nothing. Everything. When people aren’t stressed out, aren’t trying too hard, they do good work. Innovative work. Cool, productive work.

Isn’t that the point?