When you hear the word “playground,” what comes to mind?
It takes me back to elementary school, waiting for the bell to ring for recess. Boom! I was out the doors and onto the playground. Every day was a new adventure. It could be a game of tag, kickball, who could go the farthest on the monkey bars, or just a chance to hang out with friends.
Then, out of the corner of your eye, I’d see that ominous figure: the playground monitor. Don’t break the rules or you’ll lose your privileges. On many occasions, I would hear the whistle blow and the monitor yell to slow down, or to stop pushing. We were all testing the limits with each other and, at times, with the monitor.
“Mrs. Smith won’t see. It’s OK.”
“What, does she have eyes in the back of her head?”
“Why yes, she does.”
Do you ever feel like the office or your workplace is like a big playground? Sure, it’s a little different — but we still take that recess or break, hanging out at the water fountain, break room or the cube next door. We might not have all the same pieces of equipment as we do on the playground, but we challenge each other with a three-point shot into the waste basket, who can respond quickest to a group text, or push the time limits with a lunch or break. Sometimes in your cube, do you ever switch between screens when someone walks by? A game of solitaire or surfing Facebook? Be honest.
So, who’s the playground monitor in your office? You might have an office manager or not; but, I suspect most of you have someone who monitors things. Most of the people I know are still kids at heart. We like to play, we like adventure, and we like a good challenge. We still test the limits with each other and the playground monitor. At times, we push back while looking for that moment when we can claim King of the Playground for that day.
If you’re that monitor, let the kids play. Make sure they play fair and that nobody gets hurt. That’s it.
If you’re the kid, explore, play and — within reason — push the limits. Every day is a new adventure. All work and no play is just work. I hope you look forward to going to work each day, waiting for the bell to ring, and meeting out on the playground.
Mike Klockenbrink is chief of staff at Lakeside Church in Folsom, CA. Mike worked for W.W. Grainger Industrial Supply for 16 years in many different capacities. In January 2000, Mike quit climbing the corporate ladder and started climbing the Kingdom ladder. Klockenbrink can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.