I was tipped off to how rough a day it would be when I walked into the first floor where my desk had been last week–at least that part of last week that I was at work–and all I saw where our desks used to be were a collection of derelict computer parts. I then made my eventual way to my backup desk  where I proceeded to do some reports that had not been done during my 3 1/2 days gone last week, all the while dealing with requests that I go back to the new desk location next to my coworkers. When I went there, though, I found to my irritation that the computer was missing some essentials like Outlook (where I get e-mails), Excel (where I do my analyst wizardry) and a mouse. Who knows what else was missing? That was enough for me to send a ticket requesting that my computer get upgraded so that I could work on it, while I remained for the day in my backup desk, trying to have a productive day despite the cobwebs and the general Mondayness of the day as a whole.
I suppose that my high tolerance for being off the reservation comes in the blood. After all, I spring from a family background that is stunningly low in cohesion. My own life has similarly shown a marked tendency to be one of those wandering sort of sheep that simply lacks a good sense of being close to others. Even when I desire to be close to others, my life has generally conspired against this longing and desire, and my own essential ambivalence to intimacy has extended across many aspects of my life, from the way that I tend not to be easy to get close to but still end up frequently around others, to my general awkwardness when it comes to affection, and the way that I have a high tolerance for solitude even when it comes to strongly collaborative tasks. If one can manage such tasks as working together with others in a more awkward fashion than I handle it, it would truly be a distressing experience to see.
The effects of being somewhat independent-minded are sometimes paradoxical. For example, the knowledge that I tend to enjoy going off on my own made my coworkers want me to be closer to them, even if my computer was not quite ready for that. Those who are more independent and who have a tendency to go their own way often draw heavier scrutiny to themselves that can result in lower independence. Here the matter of reputation can be more important than that of reality. Often independence requires that others leave one alone, and if one draws attention because one is thought to be unpredictable or unreliable, then the independence one desires can be taken away. If one is dealing with people who lack trust or are insecure, then the fact that one is a bit of a free radical tends to lead to increased conflict and enforced closeness, which may not ultimately be welcome to either power.
Yet those who are secure may greatly prefer independent-minded people for different reasons. While the insecure see independence as a threat to uniformity and the desire for coercion, the secure see independence as a lack of interest in aggression or dependency. Some people feel comfortable with loose bonds while others require more strict bonds. Ultimately, going off the reservation is a bad thing only if some people’s sense of security depends on you being on a reservation in the first place. If you had ancestors who hid out in caves to avoid being put on reservations, or whose penchant for thinking and reading and studying and acting or oneself draws alarming amounts of scrutiny, you just may be a person who is thought to be a continual risk of going off of the reservation. At least that is true for me.
 See, for example: