Career Calling

July 17, 2013

Keep Time Off Separate from Work Time

I returned to my office today after taking a three day weekend.  One of my clients called to say that he had sent me a file.  Then he added, “I hope you have time to look at it while you’re on your trip.”  One of my friends accompanying me was asked by his boss to have a project done by Sunday night even though the soonest the boss would look at the report would be Tuesday.

What’s going on here?  People in general are losing a sense of when we are on and off the clock.  In the days when most people punched a clock, employers respected workers’ time for one simple reason: overtime.  Now, when many people work on salary and technology lets us work remotely, employers and clients often feel that work can be done anywhere and anytime.  Many of my clients who have flexible “work from home” schedules also end up putting in the most hours each week.

What can we do about this?  On an individual level, not much.  As a culture, we need to remember the value of time off.  My Sunday feature for this blog is based on Wendell Berry’s Sabbath poems.  Berry reminds us that a good life needs time off to refocus and recharge our batteries.  We need to remember that and, as a group, we need to ask our employers to do the same.  Life can’t be all work all the time.

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