Jay’s Rules of Engagement

Posted by on Aug 21, 2012 in Career, Life | No Comments

Tonight, I’m digging deep into the recesses of my Apple Mail’s file folders, all in the name of clutter-busting (and so no one nominates me as the next shamed one on Hoarders). With just a few scratches, suddenly I feel like I need Geraldo with me to uncover the centuries-old riches that will surely be found as I go deeper … deeper …

Here’s a gem, for instance, from circa 2008 – Jay’s Rules of Engagement. You see, all of my life I’ve been easily distracted. Chocolate candy, fresh dollar bills, Tide with Febreze, just about any email … all of ‘em will do it for me. That is, transport me to a faraway land (from wherever it is I need to be) so I can lose myself in the beckoning thrills and promise of “somewhere else.” I wrote the Rules to set healthy personal and work boundaries, and for a while I even gave ‘em a wobbly roll with training wheels. The jury, as they say, is still out.

So tonight, I feel compelled to share my Rules with the world. Do you feel equally compelled to create your boundaries in a Word document and share them with aforementioned world?

Jay’s Rules of Engagement


  • Unless it’s a dire family emergency, do not phone Jay between the hours of 11 p.m. and 8:30 a.m.
  • Jay is also “off the clock” with regard to electronic communications in various other instances, including but not limited to:
    • Meals (where Jay’s mouth is occupied)
    • Gym workouts or runs (where Jay’s so out of breath, he couldn’t talk if he tried)
    • Freelance client work (because there’s no interrupting a billable hour)
    • A really good movie (it’s called personal space … try it with me!)
  • When transactional messages are required, use emails or text messages to reach Jay.
  • When phone calls and (inevitably) voice mails are required (or you just want to shoot the breeze), Jay will do his best to return them within 48 hours.
  • Use of Jay’s three primary personal email accounts should be as follows:
    • Email Numero Uno – general emails from family and friends
    • Email Numero Dos – general emails from clients, Creative Types vendors, Merchant Circle members, and people who want to give Jay lots of money in exchange for professional advice and service
    • Email Numero Tres – subscription-based emails, newsletters, online purchase receipts, and all emails that include very large attachments (>5 MB)
    • If you have another email address for him, chances are it will not be checked and you will be forlorn.


  • When approaching Jay’s office, observe the following:
    • When Jay’s door is closed (or for the most part closed), Jay is (usually) in the office but unavailable. If it’s really important, knock. If it can wait, IM or call.
    • When Jay’s light is off, Jay is out of the office and unavailable. Knocking will get you laughed at by Jay’s neighbors.
  • Jay does not give out his personal cell number to any staff outside of Communications or Marketing. Others wishing to reach him should leave a voice mail at his direct office line. For matters deemed urgent by Jay, he will return calls within one business day.
  • When transactional messages are required, use IM or email to reach him.
  • Jay prefers email to phone calls about detailed business issues. It breeds accountability and a CYA paper trail (and how important is that these days?!). If the issue requires a simple answer or quick response, a phone call is fine. If you’re trying to lay out some colossal plan for the takeover of the free world and want to tell him all about it, email him.