Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Leaving Work at the Office

I haven’t had to spend 35 hours a week at a place of business since 1989. In fact, I’ve always had a charmed work life. Reporters come and go. As a graduate student, I had minimal office accommodations. As tenure-track faculty at a wanna-be research university, I was not expected to spend preparation and research time in my office, and I did not. It was not the practice in my department.

Home has been a good place to work. At first, I had an elderly dog who needed care; then, a rambunctious young dog who needed attention. I arranged my work life for maximum comfort of my fibromyalgia and arthritis pains.

Working at home tends to bleed all over the day. There is no clear demarcation between work and relaxation. Sometimes, I dreaded weekends, because of the huge amount of grading I would have to do. Having an office where I am expected to be for office hours and prep time means I get a lot done there. I have arranged my hours to avoid morning and evening rush hour traffic. This means some long week days and Fridays off, so long as do not have a meeting I’m required to attend on campus.

My shoulders ache again, to the point where I can hardly sleep and sometimes feel like crying from the pain. This is how it used to be when I had a 40-hour job. On the other hand, it is great to leave my suitcase of work, even my date book at the office, come home, and know that all the time is mine.

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