Mom used to practically chortle when telling my brother, sister and I how she and her brothers would lick something to lay claim to it. Now a couple of thoughts come to mind. This only worked because everyone in her house was a bit squeamish. It is interesting that she told us these stories with such glee because we could exhaust her with our bickering.
My dad, as an only child, never understood the ruckus we would create in an effort to get our fair share of everything, all of the time. Mom was careful in many ways to dole out even numbers of everything that she could, but this was next to impossible with her time or attention. And that is what we really wanted.
I thought of this post while walking around my neighborhood and noticing all the cars parked on driveways. You can usually tell the car that is just visiting from the car that belongs at the house based on positioning on the driveway. When we are visiting we are hesitant to pull our car up in a spot that feels proprietary, right toward the top of the drive. (And then often block the neighborhood walker’s progress…) Which got me to think about our sense of ownership, how we put our mark on things. And brought me back to those childhood events.
We have varying comfort levels when we think about ownership of our things. Some people are automatically comfortable taking ownership of any thing at any time. And on the other end of the spectrum some people don’t feel certain of what they really own. What they may have a right to claim.
The people who are naturally comfortable taking ownership might monopolize the shared office space, equipment and even the boss’s time. There may be rules to even out these sensibilities, and a wise boss will make an effort to keep things fair. But if you are more hesitant, you need to fight that urge and get in the fray to lay your claim.
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