I've been doing my good-old-workaholic thing this last few weeks. Usually, this makes me feel virtuous (useful, worth keeping employed, etc.). But something I was listening to while on the bus - oh yes, it was Marion Woodman's _Crown of Aging_ - gave me a reminder of something I've known for decades, which is that work-sickness is an addiction like any other -- just one that's seen more positively in our Puritan-shadowed culture than drug addictions (that put people out on the streets - so wasteful) or love-addictions (after all, love makes the world go 'round, and all that).
Actually, Woodman was talking about these other sorts of addictions, and I was sitting there feeling pretty virtuous for my clean-'n-sober condition when she mentioned work as an addiction, and it hit home. Yep. That's me - the job junkie. I wake up organizing my quickest possible get-away, mentally jotting down the day's to-do list. Then, when I get there (sometimes carrying in my breakfast to eat while doing e-mail), big chunks of time can melt away as I handle tiny but (seemingly) urgent tasks that pile in - bing! - on my screen, so that at the end of the morning, I haven't gotten much farther down the pile than I was when I started.
Then, I might sneak a peek at Facebook, which I've just joined. I don't much like the pile-up of everybody's business that the new format pops me into, but I look at the tab of my friends (and acquaintances) list and reassure myself that people are still having human stuff happening (eating cheese sandwiches, walking dogs, having a laugh). Then - more of the same, sometimes three or four meetings, sometimes a bit of human contact in the hallway.
When I was doing student academic advising, I had more face-to-face human contact, and I do miss that in my more bureaucratic role. However, I find myself surprised at how much fun some meetings can be, even on dull subjects (like reforming academic policies) - when the people are smart, funny, good-willed - sharing an interest in thoughtful and creative institution-building to improve students' experience at our university. I don't even really mind e-mail requests to solve problems, provide information, clarify puzzles. I enjoy explaining how things work, or clarifying the purpose of some policy or process.
I just need to keep in mind that I'm a protoplasmic being, a mammal in need of some movement, some fresh air, a break for lunch. And time to dream.
3 days ago