Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Nose to the Grindstone

Some people work as hard as I did yesterday, every day. How the heck do they do it? I'm in awe just thinking about it. Certainly the oncology nurses I spoke with yesterday morning while I sat with a client about to undergo a hideous peritoneal chemo lavage work that hard.

All my clients who work for Congress work like dogs, too. Most of America feels hostile towards these people, but when you live here, when you see how most of these people could make twice their salaries working in the private sector, but choose public service anyway, some compassion for their impossible jobs inevitably arises.

I have a client who is a social worker with Child and Family Services. She swears she doesn't work too much anymore, but she definitely puts in her fifty to sixty hours. Her job is absolutely impossible, too, can you imagine? And folks I know through the blog world, like Ellen of the blog Stuff from Ellen's Head (just one example) work pretty much around the clock, seven days a week. Whew!

When I work, I work hard, but sometimes I feel like such a slacker for "only" working four days a week. Most of the time I realize it is a humane schedule, allowing me time/space to walk around, think, cook, garden and enjoy my life. Time is my luxury, I like to say.

Some days, like yesterday, there's no choice except to buckle my seatbelt and focus on the tasks at hand. It was a good day of work, it was. But to work that hard everyday? I can't imagine. Yikes.

I big ole salute to everyone who works harder than I do, which would include pretty much everyone in Washington DC. Bravo!


Dan Gurney said...

No one I know works harder than my daughter, a first year resident doctor at Belleview Hospital in New York City (our nation's first and only? public hosptial, meaning it is paid for by taxpayers, as healthcare should be). She's working two 24 hour shifts later this week and she averages over 70 hours per week.

With Reya, my hat is doffed to the hard workers among us.

Reya Mellicker said...

Yeah. Doctors work like dogs, as do nurses and pretty much everyone else in hospitals. Holy cow.

cs said...

I've no doubt your clients work hard, but I'm tired of the "I could make more in the private sector" argument. Yeah, so could I, if I wanted to work even harder under worse conditions. I'm probably doubly sick of hearing it because business professors use it to justify having higher salaries than science professors. News flash to them: pretty much anyone with a PhD could make more money doing something other than teaching.

Reya Mellicker said...

Academia is a weird realm that I do not understand. Politics is also weird and I know those people are addicted to power and also to arguing, but they are VERY hardworking people, trying to do an impossible job. My hat is off to them.

Linda Sue said...

This saying comes to mind- "If you LOVE what you do you will never have to work a day in your life"
If there is one thing I have learned it is to trust that sort of "oh no" feeling I get in my center when asked or told to do a job that requires too much compromise and too little passion about it, although I have found that there are aspects of every job that I can get behind in a caring, enthrallment sort of way.Energy is key, and sometimes it deserts me. Did I just say "desert?" Good idea- I think there is cake in the fridge- I will work on that!

Nancy said...

I missing working sometimes, mostly because an empty nest leaves too much time for contemplation. Luckily there is a volunteer opportunity that should keep me busy that is coming up. Work is good for the soul, too much work is not - it is stress. And we all know what unrelenting stress does over time.

Kerry said...

I'm glad that you take the time to look around you and observe. It isn't empty, wasted time! I don't envy those who work long shifts and rarely have this luxury.

Reya Mellicker said...

But Nancy, the things you think about with all your free time are awesome!

Linda Sue: YES.

And yes I agree that work is such a good thing. We are working animals - we need to be productive. The rat race, though ... that I do not get.

jeanette from everton terrace said...

My husband, always working. He is on call 24hrs a day 7 days a week - poor man. I am currently out of town again doing nothing but walking on the beach, reading and I think I'll schedule a nap later today :)
I SO wish everyone could recharge themselves more often.
Love to your friend.

Rebecca Clayton said...

There's a saying: "Thinking is the hardest work of all--that's why so few choose to do it." I'm not sure if that's completely true, but I know you think some heavy-duty thoughts.

My working life fluctuates between too much work and not enough. Perhaps I'm never satisfied?

steven said...

the surface of my work . . . hmmm let me see now: on paper i work 8:45 - 3:35 5 days a week. but i arrive 45 minutes early every day and leave 60 - 90 minutes later every day. then, when i get home i put in between two and six hours a night depending on the time of the year. but you know what reya, none of it's really work because it truly love my work which is working with children as their teacher. there's other work in my life also, being a dad, a husband, a son, a brother, a nephew, a fundraiser for three causes, a blogger, an artists, a writer, a cyclist, and so much more mostly wrapped up in being the person i am. which brings me to the notion that quantity of work isn't how we touch the deepest part of the mapping of our presence here, but the quality. so reya, i say, the people in your care are receiving the quality of your work not an hour of your work!!! steven

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks Steven.