Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I have a 2 year old.

Ever since he's been able to understand what we are saying to him, he's been pushing his boundaries. 

That's what they do right? Push boundaries. They test and test. And then test again. See how far they can get you to bend to their will and what they want.

I hear it gets worse. 

A friend of mine said that it gets worse. You tell them something, they are good for a couple of months and then they are just dumb for a month. 

It got me thinking... I don't think we ever outgrow that.

What is it that is in our nature to push the boundaries? Why are there some of us who push harder than others? Why are there some that seem to never push the boundaries? And what makes us decide which ones to push and not push?

You see it all the time in relationships, whether it be dating or friendship. Sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, everyone. We all push the boundaries with each other all of the time.

Then I realized with some chagrin that I am so guilty of this. Mostly in the work field. 

At one point, I'd not wear my eye protection at the production plant until I absolutely HAD to cause I hated it. I finally stopped wearing my steal toed shoes cause they didn't really enforce it. I'd wear my jewelry as long as I could until they made me take it out. Never did take my tongue piercing out. Even when asked to all the time. I just thought it was stupid. I was working at a place that had a chemical that reacted to metal or something like that. I don't remember, it was a long time ago...I just remember we couldn't wear jewelry. Anyway, I figured that if it was getting into my mouth and reacting with my tongue ring, it was a little too invasive for my liking at that point, so who cares if I have that in my mouth. 

I then worked in a few FDA regulated places and saw the boundaries being pushed all of the time. By everyone who could. It was interesting to see where people would push back. If it was at all inconvenient for them, they'd push the boundaries. 30 seconds for an iodine scrub and then 30 seconds to dry? Ya right, I have numbers to meet buster. I have more sticks I need to get in a day than that smug mo-fo over there. That was one thing I didn't mind, but I saw it all the time. All sorts of stupid stuff that people did. 

And then to see who, over another, got fired for the same infractions. 

Or at another place, it was the face masks. Who wants to sound like Darth Vader to themselves?  Or when you are already hot as hell because of the non-breathable lab coats we had to wear, no one wants to put a face mask on as well. Or the weights of the patients, or proteins, or hematocrits that people tried to guilt us into faking. I know that there were those who totally pushed the boundaries on that.  

Every day, boundaries are being pushed, bent, and broken. It's surprising to see the range of consequences of it. Something as little as a flooded toilet or spilled milk to something more serious as losing one's job to the biggest of the big like dying. 

I don't bend the rules at the job I'm at now. I've been there since I've had kids...I realize that the rules and regulations, although they may be silly and redundant to me, they are there for a reason. I am daily trying to figure out what is worth fighting Linus over regarding rules and boundaries and what isn't. 

And the hardest part... trying to be the tough guy and following through with the consequences I set for him for breaking and pushing his boundaries. 

I don't envy you parents of teenagers and those of you who are bosses of adults who should know better but don't. 

1 comment:

jeaner29 said...

Hang in there. Sometimes I wonder if the boundary-pushing from my kids is also a test of my patience and my pushing the boundaries on them (for example, I should probably go play with them than work on my shutterfly photobook that I won't ever get perfect).

But I am glad to hear that you are so understanding of the lame rules and regs at your current job. If there is anything that really irks you and you don't understand or want to understand, just ask. Hopefully there's a reason for it.