05 September, 2012

Fuzzy Boundaries

I was in a small discussion group recently, composed of Support Workers. All missionaries, but none of us are "on the front line". One of the things that came up was a struggle with boundaries. I think it is something that is particularly a difficulty with "volunteer" work. Work that doesn't come with specific job descriptions. Work that often involves doing things that we aren't skilled in just because it needs to be done and there is no one else (and no money to pay someone else) to do it.

This is definitely something I struggle with. There are many things I could do. Many things I do that I could do more thoroughly. And sometimes it is hard to know when to stop, other times it is hard to keep going because no one says I have to.
Life isn't as well defined
as walking a tightrope!

Some things are easy to say no to. Other things I say yes to, but my heart isn't really 100% in them. Or I don't have the ability to do them as well as someone else, but because no one else has volunteered to do it, I have to do it anyway. I find this really difficult.

I think it is partly a personality issue for me. If I'm not passionate about something, I find it hard to do at all. The psychological assessment that we had to have as part of our application to become missionaries came up with this statement about me: "She could do almost anything that interested her. To maintain her interest, however, Wendy needs to both work closely with others and be somewhat autonomous."

I'm amazed at how accurate that is even now. (This is another topic, but I've recently done another Myers-Briggs, admittedly not under the supervision of a professional, and come up with a different personality type!) I do need autonomy as well as working with people, and I've got that with my editing and writing work. But I also need to be enthusiastic about something. Ambivalence and luke-warmness I don't enjoy.

But back to fuzzy boundaries. In my situation, I have a number of fairly well defined roles. On top of that I have a number of other less defined roles, like "mother" and "CAJ parent".

But even my role as a managing editor has a number of fuzzy bits around the edge. It is easy to focus on the urgent and leave the less urgent, but still important, on the sides. Especially if it is something I'm not good at or very enthusiastic about. For example, writing policies and procedures for the magazine and defining copyright issues for writers. There is no one looking over my shoulder demanding that I do these things, so they get left aside.

How about you? Do you find fuzzy boundaries are a problem in one or more areas of your life? How do you cope with them?

No comments: