Sarah did not come into the office today. Who can blame
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
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.
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.)
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
through Friday 9-5. And they leave the job at work when
they go home, aside from perhaps worrying about whether
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
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.
Thursday, Mar 9, 2006