Friday, April 29, 2016

Working at work









I was talking with a co-worker at the front desk of my library. We were talking about work. This brings up the question: Does talking about work at work count as work?

Yes. It does.

You know what also counts as work? Broadening the very idea of what constitutes work. I am here to tell you that that is a lot of work. I'm exhausted by it so often that I have to take little breaks, though usually, if I can manage it, they're working breaks. Which is exhausting.

In this conversation with my co-worker, about work, I said, in response to something my co-worker said, "I consider that my job here is to not feel guilty about whatever it is I'm doing." It was, like many things I say, pretending to be a joke, but barely even pretending because, working as hard as I do, I don't usually have the energy to do all that pretending. And so here I am collecting righteousness once again. I look around me and find that for many of my co-workers it comes naturally. They engage in mind boggling varieties of strange activities and seem completely oblivious to the very possibility that it might not be work. And I find that hierarchically the higher you go the people get even better at this immaculate self justification. But not me so much. I don't really have a very strong innate facility for considering my actions productive. I really have to work at it.









8 comments:

  1. What an interesting post! The idea of work and what constitutes work and being productive--and what does productive mean? To what end? I dont' mean of course justifying doing nothing or not being helpful and all that, but at least for me I am pretty conditioned to feeling productive means getting things done. I mean, what is productive?

    On a related note, we have this clause in our contract that states that we have to do 87.5 hours of school-related work over the course of the semester outside of the classroom, and we submit a list. It's really expansive, like "saw a play," "reworked curriculum" but I like things like, "last night I dreamed about work." "Had a conversation with a former student at Trader Joe's." I mean, that's work, too, right?

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    1. Yes! I love that "Had a conversation with a former student at Trader Joe's." Exactly. Of course your job as a Professor lends itself very well to this inclusiveness (thus the list). As an hourly person if a patron says hi to me at a store, or I give library donation advice to my wife's work colleague, there is a way that I really want to store it in me as a credit and allowance for free time at work. Hopefully I can collect enough to almost feel like all time at work is free time.

      Delete
  2. What an interesting post! The idea of work and what constitutes work and being productive--and what does productive mean? To what end? I dont' mean of course justifying doing nothing or not being helpful and all that, but at least for me I am pretty conditioned to feeling productive means getting things done. I mean, what is productive?

    On a related note, we have this clause in our contract that states that we have to do 87.5 hours of school-related work over the course of the semester outside of the classroom, and we submit a list. It's really expansive, like "saw a play," "reworked curriculum" but I like things like, "last night I dreamed about work." "Had a conversation with a former student at Trader Joe's." I mean, that's work, too, right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would be simple for me to delete this comment, but it would render your follow up peculiar, so I leave it be...

      Delete
  3. I don't know why it posted my comment twice.
    I don't know why it posted my comment twice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No problem. I predict you will do it again!

      Delete
  4. I don't know why it posted my comment twice.
    I don't know why it posted my comment twice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But the question is: Was this one by accident or comic design?

      Delete

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