RE: 40-hour weeks

Subject: RE: 40-hour weeks
From: "Dori Green" <dgreen -at- associatedbrands -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 5 Jul 2007 09:25:39 -0400

I'm another one who (usually) loves what she's doing as "work".

Was it Deming who stipulated that there are three types of employees? --

1 it's a means to a paycheck
2 it's a stepping stone to the job they really want
3 it's a Calling

When it comes to tech writing, especially documents that will be used to make other people's jobs easier and safer, created as a team effort with those people, I'm definitely #3 -- and I'm a TQM/ISO champion to boot. There. I've admitted it and I'm not ashamed.

When I'm in such a job, I'm the happiest employee on earth. I nibble lunch at my desk, start at 5 AM on the laptop out in the gardens with the goats, usually arrive early, stay late, continue work on my laptop out in the field with the goats for a couple of hours in the evening, and tweak photos for the next day's production while I watch TV for an hour or two at night. I guess I put in about 12 hours a day five days a week, and maybe another 8-10 hours over the weekend. I don't watch a clock, I just love doing the work and I say thank you for the paycheck based on 40 hours. Incidentally, it's a "rural area" here with limited employment opportunities -- so this paycheck is about half what I enjoyed when I worked in the city an hour away. I accepted the offer, not complaining. Just pointing out that when somebody loves the work, enough to live on is often sufficient.

I've taken two sick days in a year and a half, and two or three half-days for specialist doctor appointments I can't just zip to in a half-hour. Used some vacation time when I needed a week off to recuperate from surgery.

When I'm working like that and I get called in for a scolding because some unnamed complainer has noticed that I came in ten minutes late three times within a week (couldn't drive until the pain medication for the injured knee kicked in), I start seeing the other places where things aren't perfect. And pretty soon I start looking elsewhere.

It is annoyingly lazy and retro to "manage" people only by an arbitrary and rigid time measure.

Dori Green

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