Cut Out

Posted: December 7, 2009 in Uncategorized

Happy Monday to everyone. Yes, I am still on the non-smoking wagon, and while I do not fully enjoy the experience, I am doing much better than I was previously and feel I will fully turn the corner here shortly. Thank you for asking. Or not asking. Whatever. Shut up I’m trying to talk here.

As I arrived at work on Monday morning and caught up with things that may have happened over the weekend, I had a bit of a thought that I’d like to share with you. It seems that a lot of people work over the weekends and/or well into the evening during the week. And not just people who are doomed to work weekends and have days off during the week. No, I am referring to the people that, more often than not, work 70, 80, 90 hours a week. I’m sure you all know the kind, and certainly there is nothing wrong with it per se (strong work ethic, etc.), but it occurred to me that perhaps I am not cut from the same cloth as these folks; that perhaps I have learned to see the value of life beyond that of work.

Does it make me lazy or a bad employee if I take issue with working until 8 p.m. at night, or if I take issue working over the entire weekend? I don’t think it does, though some people may argue that it does, or that it makes me less driven. But, before you get so judgmental, hear me out.

I am, and always have been, a firm believer in working smart; of making the most of the 40 hour weeks so that I can enjoy myself on the days that I have off, regardless of what day that might be. Of course, I understand that there will be times that I am “required” for one reason or another to put in extra time. I get that. It’s the “I like my job and wish to keep it” sort of thing. However, when a person routinely, and without second thought, forsakes sleep, and family, and friends, and pleasure in non-work life, I have to shake my head in confusion. I guess I just don’t get it. (Let me take a step back here, parenthetically of course, and qualify this a bit more. There are some jobs that are naturally prone to long days and long weeks. Doctors, police officers, firefighters, nurses, the president–all of these folks make a real difference in life and thus work harder to make that difference.)

My life personal life has never been so rough and tumble that I would rather be at work than at home, so perhaps I don’t understand where these folks are coming from. Or, perhaps I do not understand the draw of power and money. Whatever it is, I guess I’m just not cut out to give up my personal life in favor of pleasing other people, people I probably don’t really like anyway, or in favor of moving up the ladder just so I can work more, work harder, and die younger. (Another sidebar here, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my “escape” to be to work. I’d rather my “escape” have to do with something that brings a smile to my face, not one that gives me wrinkles and indigestion.)

What good is life if you can’t take a step back and routinely enjoy it? What good is life without the three day weekend, or the beer on the deck, or the joint at a concert? What good is life if you can’t watch your kids grow up, or watch your dogs wrestle, or laugh mercilessly at Rick Astley parodies by yours truly. I would charge that life is no good without any of the above (and any other little pleasantries you can think of). Life would become that of a robot–predictable, repetitive, lonely, and in many cases, melancholy.

Maybe it is just the stoner in me. Maybe my view of my personal and professional life is too fanciful, too aloof. Maybe. But then again, maybe I don’t care. Maybe I believe that work is meant to be skipped from time to time. Maybe I believe work should be left at work (I mean, if you’re supposed to check your personal business at the door, it should go both ways). Maybe I believe that sunrises and sunsets are best spent with people you like, not people you wish would die an awful death. Maybe I believe that this, this life, is the only one we have and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let a paycheck define how I live it.

Can I get an amen?

Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do.
–Oscar Wilde


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