Thursday, June 25, 2009

Try not to think about work on the weekends

Andrew G.R. who writes for Jobacle has a post on US News and World Report about how our weekends are not for work.

Now the tendency when you are fresh in your job is to always identify yourself with your job title--sort of as if it had become your new last name. We like to show that we have realized our educational dream--heck, that we have a job is awesome. We are also proud of our work--usually--and rightly so. Librarians do lots of cool stuff and I won't write the epic of our awesomeness, especially when preaching to the choir. But Andrew is right about one thing:

Take some time off from your job.

Some of us are breaking our student habits where weekends meant work. We did our paid labor on weekends, and we weren't used to time off. We were used to finding a minute to not work at our two (or more) jobs, as students and workers. Very few students have days off and you hear them guiltily confessing, I took the night off. Good news, you aren't a student anymore. Unless you were smart enough to start scheduling your breaks, it takes time to break the habit of always running to the next assignment or to arrive on time for a shift at [paid] work.

A "weekend" is a luxury for many of us--we don't get two days off in a row. New librarians are usually given the weekend shift and know that they have arrived when they get their first Saturday off without begging for it. But we can find a period of time, longer than one day, to forget about our work, not develop ourselves and just watch TV, go to the gym or dancing, and not use our profession as our last name. This can give us some perspective and a mental break.

Heck, I'm blogging about libraries and work: I'm a work junkie. But I take days off from it when I can't find anything to write about, or when I need a rest period.

But being a librarian does creep into my leisure activities. I read a controversial book, which I picked up because of the buzz, not a true attraction to the book, and think, hmmm, someone will challenge this book for exactly this passage. I might even take notes, as opposed to just enjoying the book. It's homework, not pleasure. I think the author might agree that they wrote it to inform and please, not for me to feel it was my duty to read their book. (Unless it was William Bennett.) This means excluding books that include in their prefaces or dedications, the phrase for your edification.

Or I take my work home with me over the weekend to catch up--although I know my weekend is already packed with family stuff, or leisure activities. I bring the stuff along to read or write about while I'm waiting for my friends to show up at Starbucks--or feel guilty that I didn't read it on the train there and back. Carrying it with me doesn't mean I dealt with it, it just means that I packed it along.

How much work are you packing and not dealing with?

You should think about what it means that you can't get your work done during work hours: a) you need more time to get your work done, so you need to talk with your supervisor, b) you need to cut back on all of the extra projects that you have taken on in addition to your work, or c) get off Twitter, Mr. Mayer.

So, take a break. You need one.

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