February 6th, 2018



What do you think is a defining characteristic of being human? I don't mean bipedal, tool-using, opposable thumbs, I think-therefore-I-am, human. I mean what sets us apart from the instinctual, animal, get enough to eat, mate, sleep, human?

Today, it was a sense of obligation. I say human because I doubt rabbits with a head cold give a shit about their responsibilities. Or bears. Do animals get colds? They must, since we're essentially animals, and we get colds.

Despite being REALLY sick with a whopper of a head cold that has been battening on me for days, I felt OBLIGATED to go to work today to do things that had to be done, because no one else could do them. I took yesterday off, even though I had a day full of meetings, waking up when my husband's alarm went off, and sending out a barrage of emails to my boss, my team, my department, the people I had meetings with, the friends I was supposed to go to lunch with to celebrate a birthday, saying: Sorry. Have to reschedule, have to cancel, have to rest.

But that stupid sense of obligation hung over me all day (except during the parts where I was actually sleeping the sleep of the brain-dead). I checked emails, and answered them. I checked messages. I checked the ticket system, and assigned a few to me to deal with today. I did the things I could do without having actual access to our network. I kept an eye on things. I WAS RESPONSIBLE.

Because I am so damn responsible, I went to work this morning, because we have our monthly partner eNews going out this week and I am in charge of the build/implementation of it, and the finalization needed to happen today so that the woman who handles the testing and sendouts could do her part tomorrow. Now, I KNOW intellectually that someone could have stepped in and dealt with it, if things had been really desperate, but I felt an OBLIGATION to do my job. A responsibility to get it done, because I didn't want to add more stress to an already-borderline-maxed-out team. We already have too much to do right now, and we've been short-staffed for ages, due to various things, and I just felt like I couldn't be a part of the problem, which I was already being, having stayed home sick one day already. I had to get back to being part of the solution. Right?

So, I went in to work, and I did the eNews, and then I did a bunch of ads that needed to be done, and I answered emails, and took some tickets and got nearly caught up on the stuff that didn't get done yesterday because I wasn't there. I got yelled at by my boss and my teammates and my colleagues, asking WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE? Go home! Rest!

Yes, but. I'm just gonna... you know the syndrome. It's so human, to think we have these obligations, these responsibilities; that we are irreplaceable. That we are immortal. That, in the long run, getting the eNews out on time really matters. What I was doing didn't have to do with the eNews. Not really. It had to do with my essential feeling of human obligation. A probably misplaced one, but in today's world, work is where you most often show your peers that you are responsible. God knows I do it at home, too, most of the time, though yesterday, I actually didn't do a damn thing around the house, if you don't count sneezing, coughing, snucking and general laying-about.

I did go home, finally, just after 2 o'clock, about 3 hours after I should have, and to the loud relief of my co-workers, who shooed me out the door and told me to get some rest. I don't know about tomorrow yet, since I still feel like hammered shit, but even if the eNews is ready, there is still that one advert to layout, and that flyer that got approved and can be finalized, and the presentation that urgently needs spiffing up, and the two meetings that have already been rescheduled once...