The Conversation

Home
11/13/05
11/14/05
11/15/05
11/16/05
11/17/05
11/18/05
11/19/05
11/20/05
11/21/05
11/22/05
11/23/05
11/24/05
11/25/05
11/26/05
11/27/05
11/28/05
11/29/05
11/30/05
12/01/05
12/02/05
12/03/05
12/04/05
12/05/05
12/06/05
12/07/05
12/08/05
12/09/05
12/10/05
12/11/05
12/12/05
12/13/05
12/14/05
12/15/05
12/16/05
12/17/05
12/18/05
12/19/05
12/20/05
12/21/05
12/22/05
12/23/05
12/24/05
12/25/05
12/26/05
12/27/05
12/28/05
12/29/05
12/30/05
12/31/05
1/1/06
1/2/06
1/3/06
1/4/06
1/5/06
1/6/06
1/7/06
1/8/06
1/9/06
1/10/06
1/11/06
1/12/06
1/13/06
1/14/06
1/15/06
1/16/06
1/17/06
1/18/06
1/19/06
1/19/06
1/20/06
1/21/06
1/22/06
1/23/06
1/24/06
1/25/06
1/26/06
1/27/06
1/28/06
1/29/06
1/30/06
1/31/06
2/1/06
2/2/06
2/3/06
2/4/06
2/5/06
2/6/06
2/7/06
2/8/06
2/9/06
2/10/06
2/11/06
2/12/06
2/13/06
2/14/06
2/15/06
2/16/06
2/17/06
2/18/06
2/19/06
2/20/06
2/21/06
2/22/06
2/23/06
2/24/06
2/25/06
2/26/06
2/27/06
2/28/06
3/1/06
3/2/06
3/3/06
3/4/06
3/5/06
3/6/06
3/7/06
3/8/06
3/9/06
3/10/06
3/11/06
3/12/06
3/13/06
3/14/06
3/15/06
3/16/06
3/17/06
3/18/06
3/19/06
3/20/06
3/21/06
3/22/06
3/23/06
3/24/06
3/25/06
3/26/06
3/27/06
3/28/06
3/29/06
3/30/06
5/19/06
5/20/06
5/21/06
5/22/06
5/23/06
5/24/06
5/25/06
5/26/06
5/27/06
5/28/06
5/29/06
5/30/06
5/31/06
6/1/06
6/2/06
6/3/06
6/12/06
6/13/06
7/3/06
7/4/06
7/5/06
7/6/06
7/7/06
7/8/06
7/9/06
7/10/06
7/11/06
7/14/06
7/15/06
7/16/06
7/17/06
7/23/06
swinging Elvis clock on the wall and squawking birds and swimming fish. With Mozart and Aretha playing in the background and cereal and peanut butter

Dear Kim:

Sarah did not come into the office today. Who can blame her?

What an awful expression: to assume blame. It is interesting how some figures of speech get imbedded in our consciousness.

Of course I do not blame her. I totally understand. We had one hell of a day yesterday, crunching the numbers and racing the clock.

I am not the only one who is working too much, Kim. Sarah is working too much, too.

(Kim: Two of the most accomplished people I know only worked from 8-5 and then enjoyed the evenings with their family. One made a lifetime of large paintings and the other many many accomplishments. I never have been able to do this, though I've always tried to do my art on the side.

What a treat it will be to have 7 days a week like today. Linda has gone away for a few days, so I just have to contend with myself.)

The life of a small nonprofit is that we all assume many, many roles. It leads to burn out for sure.

It is an interesting trade off. I have friends who work in more corporate structures where they pretty much live a Monday through Friday 9-5. And they leave the job at work when they go home, aside from perhaps worrying about whether they might be downsized or their company bought out.

To some extent, however, they are really answerable to a boss and need to justify their time and activities.Of course it varies from job to job but I remember feeling chained to my office at the advertising agency where I once worked.

I would stumble into the office at 8:30 a.m. after fighting the traffic for an hour and try to make my brain function at that hour. It didn't matter if I finished all of my work early. There was no leaving before 5:00. And there were no windows. I felt absolutely trapped. Starved for the sensual world and for time to daydream and breathe.

It might have helped if I had liked the people with whom I worked. It wasn't that I disliked them. I just wasn't interested in hanging out with them or chatting. So I didn't do the lunch thing and eventually I was fired.

I didn't fit in. My boss noticed. He didn't tell me I wasn't a team player or the usual rot. He said he thought I was a serious writer and that I wasn't in love with advertising. He was probably right on both counts but at the time, I was furious.

It feels humiliating to be fired. Screwed up though our egos may be, I think most of us prefer to leave on our own accord.

So I knew I would need to construct a world of my own making.

In the small non profit realm, we each do the work of several people. It is stimulating to take on a wide variety of tasks and it is exhausting. But, at least in the world I have constructed, we can wear what we want, come in late, leave early, take mental health days without question when we need them.

After years of hiring people and hopeful learning enough to make informed choices, I assume we are all adults and can make good decisions and manage our work at our own pace.

So I love my little non profit world with its swinging Elvis clock on the wall and squawking birds and swimming fish. With Mozart and Aretha playing in the background and cereal and peanut butter always available for anyone who wants it.

But we still work too much.

Later,

Joan
Thursday, Mar 9, 2006

Next