DEATH BY WORK

I was not raised to fear hard work. I come from a long line of workaholics. Admittedly we don’t necessarily work smart, but we’re thorough and our work is high quality. Well, ya know…for the most part. And I’m not accounting for the bullshit my one uncle gets up to in whatever the hell job he’s in this week.

Anyway, the idea that I’m sitting here, maoning about hard work frankly makes me a bit sick of myself. I wasn’t raised to scoff at hard work.

Most academics don’t keep officer hours. You work whenever. The upside is that you have flexibility to watch your kid perform on the sports field or to sleep late when you need to, but the down side is your work hours tend to expand into I’m-sorry-I-can’t-go-to-that-party-I-have-work-to-do, and Ah-I-don’t-really-need-sleep-two-nights-in-a-row…

Because I’m single and child free my working hours have mushroomed out of control a little bit. I wanted to cut down to spend more time on writing and reading, the true loves of my life…

But this evening, as I started preparing for the week ahead, I discovered a document as part of our departmental meeting tomorrow. It sets out our boss’s demands for workload in the faculty.

If someone had been watching my face from afar, they’d have thought the document brought the gravest of news. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Cutting my hours to read more and write more won’t be possible. And there’s no bloody chance of my dream to work a 8 to 5 job…

Four years ago, auditors fine-tooth-combed our operations to determine if our standards were up to scratch. We had to fix some issues, most of which were fair and legitimate, and one of which were the fact that the lecturers were too few and the students too many.

The lecturer-student ratio has since not chance a wink. And our workload has all but doubled.

I feel like I’m expected to wave my life goodbye. I can’t even imagine what my colleagues with children must be feeling. Sure, they might still be able to watch Mikey play football on Wednesday afternoons, but they’ll have to stay up all night to proofread some shit that’ll have to be submitted the next day.

You don’t even have to say it, I know: I’m an asshole for being a little asshole about work in the craziest economic times of this generation.

If my mom were alive, I suspect she would have raged with me. It’s unfathomable! What do they think they’re doing?! They’ll kill you!

But in her mostly unsubtle way, she would have waited until I’d calmed down…or until we both were giggling about our ridiculous passive aggressive attacks on my boss. Then she would have said something like: Yeah, it’s rotten…but thank the Good Lord you have a job when so many don’t. And then she would have continued knitting or stirring or reading or whatever she was busy with, to give me time to find the truth of the thing for myself.

But she’s no longer here. So I guess I have to find truth of things without her help. And I really should be grateful for the honour and gift of having work.

But first, some wine…chococino won’t cut it tonight…

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