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I Totally Get To Play At Work

November 13, 2017

I was supposed to be on a work call. Well, actually I was on a work call but I was also barrelling down a former railroad track that had been turned into a mountain bike trail. A careful use of the mute button kept those on the conference call from hearing the wind whipping by.

Because I couldn’t leave well enough alone, I actually teased my coworkers a little by sending them a picture of the trail I was on.

Here’s my office for today.

They were appropriately jealous.

At this point, some of you are thinking that Rodney is playing with fire a little in terms of my job status.

Not to worry. I’m fine. In fact, my boss was happy that I was taking that call while on what turned out to be a 23 mile mountain bike trip with our Boy Scout troop.

See, my trip was on Saturday. It was a beautiful day in Utah. We loaded up the boys and bikes and headed into the mountains around Park City. This was the final ride needed to earn the Bicycling merit badge. The troop had done two rides that were two miles long. Then, they did two five mile rides and then two eight mile rides. This was the final trip and it had be be 22 miles long. (We ended up doing 23, because we could.)

We were a little worried taking a ride this late in the year. November can be unpredictable in Utah. But, the weather could not have been better. Clear skies and highs in the 60s.

I actually had two work calls on Saturday. The first one was at 8:00 as I started to leave my house to meet the boys and other leaders at our designated gathering spot. As my phone rang, I had a decision to make. I could see from the Caller ID that it was one of my call centers. And the only reason they would call me on a Saturday morning was if something was broken.

I hadn’t even left my house. I could easily turn back around, go back inside and log in from my home office. My job requires me to be on call 24×7 and we take calls around the clock. It was a pretty easy decision to keep riding. I strapped my apple earbuds down under my helmet and made sure the mute button was easily accessible.

That first issue resolved itself very quickly. In fact, I was done with the call before all of the boys arrived. I was feeling pretty good about my decision to not drop from the bike trip.

One of the leaders showed up with a bum elbow. He was going to drive and pull the trailer, but he wasn’t going to ride. Without me, we wouldn’t have enough leaders. Even more validation that I’d made the right decision.

We drove from Pleasant Grove to Park City through the beautiful Provo canyon. The morning air was cool, but certainly not cold. As we mounted our bikes and set off, many of the boys shed extra layers of sweatshirts and left them with the vehicles.

About 5 miles into the ride I got another phone call. This one was going to be much longer. My cell phone can handle two calls at once. On one line I was talking to my team on the other I was calling the client for updates. All the while I kept riding. Occasionally I had to stop and read or send an email.

You guys go ahead, I’ll catch up.

I have to admit I was guilty of texting and riding on several occasions. The issue got worked on the client side and I happily passed status back and forth from the client to my team. And I had an absolutely wonderful ride along the way.

I’ve wondered if I was working while I was playing or was I playing while working? The difference is immatrial to me.

Do what you love and you’ll never have to work another day in your life.

This quote as been attributed to everyone from Confusious to Marc Antony to Steve Jobs. It’s both completely false and absolutely true.

Work is work. I work so that I can get paid. If I didn’t need to get paid, I would probably do something completely different. I was absolutely working on Saturday. And given the choice, I wouldn’t have. And if it bothered me, I can certainly go out and get a job that doesn’t require me to work on a Saturday. However, I also love what I do. I provide real value to my company, my client and the people I work with. I enjoy doing a good job. I like the fact that my account is considered the model account within my company.

And so, it’s worth it to me to share some of my personal time with a work call. I still went riding. I still got to go out into the Utah mountains and feel the wind in my face and immerse myself in God’s creations. Work didn’t keep me from that.

I totally got to play while I was at work.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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  1. April Johnson permalink

    All of your blogs about riding bikes makes me want to ride some more too. I only got one bike trip in this summer and I am sad about that. It was a beautiful ride in Provo Canyon though. You must be in great shape! What a good scout leader you are! The boys are so lucky to have you. Our scout leaders rarely take my boys on these outings.

    • I did my best to keep up. Our otHer scout leaders own $1000 mountain bikes and use them often. I have a 25’year old $400 bike that I ride about once per year. Biking is not my thing. But, the boys liked it. And it was a really pretty ride.

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