When there are conflicting stories

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I was reminded of conflicting stories when I was driving my first grader to school the other day.

It was 7:25 a.m. and on the drive she said:

“And you have to be at the office at 7:30?”

We’ve had the discussion about “working hours” plenty of times.

I work at a flexible company. Sometimes I get to the office early. Sometimes a little later. And sometimes I work at home. And sometimes I answer emails while watching TV at 8 p.m.

It’s work – life integration as opposed to work – life balance. It works as long as I love what I’m doing. And it offers flexibility.

But, yet, my seven-year-old continues to talk about what time I “have to be at the office” and what time I can leave.

It makes sense, I suppose. Her school day is structured into specific time slots. If she’s late, she gets into trouble. If she’s late often enough, I get into trouble. It’s about time periods. Yes, she learns things in those time periods.

But in the connected Participation Age it’s about experiences and connections. Those aren’t always about time periods with a hard start and stop.

I’m not saying schools are doing something wrong. I’m just pointing out the somewhat different stories and experiences.

So the two of us keep getting back to times.

Once, my daughter was at the office with me. Yup, it’s family-friendly, too.

I told her we will leave around 3. She took that to mean “at 3. Exactly.”

Three o’clock came and I wasn’t done. She wanted to leave. I had said 3. She was even still having fun. But that was the time of departure in her mind.

I told her we’d leave when I was done.

“When will that be?”
“When I’m done.”
“What time?”

It’ll be interesting to see how this evolves…