When is Enough…Enough?

Welcome to another look to the blog–something more appropriate to the season–and to another post, friends. A special welcome and thank you to to my most recent new followers. I would have contacted you via email to do so personally, but the notification I got from WP didn’t include that info.

I thought about breaking this one up b/c busy schedules and limited time often result in readers looking away once too many words show up on the page. (Couldn’t figure out a good place to do so. FYI, my WP word counter has this at 876, lol.)

I try not to spend too much time on soapboxes or at the feet of someone else’s.  These thoughts, however, have been niggling at me for a very long time now—years, I’d say.

My question is: when does one draw the line at work and demand to own his/her life?

Far as I can tell from my limited perspective, since the beginning of the economic downturn the United States has faced in the past decade (probably longer), people who have not lost their jobs have been put in a position to do the work of three. “I’m grateful I have a job,” is the sentiment I often hear.

(Unspoken translation: “I’ll do whatever necessary to keep it.” I.e., work extra hours sans pay; bring work home; sacrifice time with family or personal time; neglect scheduling doctors’ appointments for self or the family members dependent on self—getting the picture?)

Disclaimer: this is all reflection and opinion on my part. I’m blessed to have obtained a degree in a profession where work often comes to me, and almost anywhere I throw a stick is a position ready to be had: full-time, part-time, per-diem or contracted. But I see the astronomical amounts of work—the life people give up—in order to hold on to a job.

I just want to know: When is enough enough?

I’ve always been a fan of Mary Kay Cosmetics, threw my hat in the consultants’ ring for a while and read Mary Kay Ash’s biography at least twice. Among the reasons this lovely lady founded this excellent company was to provide women with an opportunity to generate an income while being able to do the following in this order of priority: put God first in their lives, their families second and their work third.

Is it me, or has the almighty dollar and workforce kind of pushed this kind of thinking to the wayside? Talked with a cousin yesterday, who holds a high school education supervisory position. Her day is scheduled to start at 8:30 AM. She (and all her colleagues) were expected in at 7:15. (She’d already scheduled and participated in the equivalent of 48 hours worth of professional development the two days prior—AFTER she wrote the workshops that were to be taught, most likely on her time.) A “15-minute” meeting was called during her scheduled lunch, at around 12:30 PM. That lasted until 3:30 and followed by one that lasted until 5:00. She spent the next 2.5 hours in the office doing more prep work and rolled home about 8 PM, all so that she could go home and spend some time with her family over the weekend. And that doesn’t include the work she brings home, often sleeping four hours or less to stay on top of what she needs to get done–for school that is.

“I’m on a mission,” she told me. (The numbers of that district reflect her dedication, I’m sure.)

Ran into another friend just the other day. She left a Director of Special Services position. She’d attempted to take on THREE smaller districts (part of the job description). Found herself leaving the house at 5:30 AM to be in place by 7:00 and not getting home until about 10:30 PM, only to start the cycle over in just a few hours. Really?????

I too, work with teachers. I’ve seen the overhaul on education my state seems to be demanding. That though, has translated into an astronomical amount of work on teachers to get a job done–most of the time, to insure higher standardized test scores, which is what all this seems geared toward, no matter what the higher-ups say.

My teacher-friends’ stories aren’t all that different from my cousin’s.  Maybe some before them didn’t care. Others however, always have done their job and done it well. Now they have to mess with data, outcomes, centers, computer applications/programs that the kids have to complete in addition to the academic curriculum they still have to teach—and one that seems more complex and not necessarily targeted to a kid’s developmental level, especially the special needs’ crowd who are often operating at a lower developmental/emotional age than their regular ed peers.

So without further ranting, I ask you again: when is enough, enough? And what might actually happen if enough of the workforce put fear of losing the job aside and stood up as a whole to cry, “Done!” and refuse to accept any more unacceptable demands on the part of the employer?

Just sayin’ and thank you for indulging me. (I so appreciate the time you spend here–I really do!) BTW, the questions in the preceding paragraph are not meant to be rhetorical. I’d love your input on this subject!

Have a great day,

Joanna

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6 thoughts on “When is Enough…Enough?

  1. Love your new look!

    When I found myself in a “part-time” job that had me leaving at 7:30 am and getting home at 8 pm, pushing me to full-time hours and a first-time-ever need for anti-reflux medicine, I knew it was time for a change. Without getting into specifics, I was able to shift my work into a different pattern, and this helped significantly. At least I was home to make supper. But I ultimately transitioned to something different as I decided it was time for a new life chapter. Luckily I was able to do so. That wouldn’t have been the case in the past.

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  2. Definitely a blessing to be able to do so, Carrie. So many can’t, and others believe they can’t. I suppose 8 hour work days are no longer sacred. I took a short break from my anecdotal notes I write daily to check in. Thanks for your comment and compliment 🙂

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  3. Your blog is spot on, Joanna. I’m similar…so much going on. We need more hours in the day, and then some! It seems its like this everywhere. I’ve flip flopped between p/t and f/t according to what the kids are doing/their schedules. Otherwise, I don’t know how I’d get it all done. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this!

    I love your blog’s new background too. 🙂

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    1. Thanks so much, Christine, for your comment and your very kind compliment! I still keep toying with the idea of working f/t (or a few more hours) myself. Seems though, I keep getting busier and busier. (And my kids’ schedules aren’t all that busy. Take care and be well.

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  4. Hi Joanna,
    It is a nutty system we’ve designed for ourselves. It’s gotten worse since the 2008 crash, especially in the schools. My sister works as a teacher’s aide. Her schedule has gotten increasingly hectic. Now she runs from classroom to playground duty to tutoring sessions to crossing guard all day long, barely a break for lunch. Her husband has had three strokes, and they need the health insurance. Several friends who are teachers and retired teachers seem blown out after about 12 years. I stayed home to raise kids, but even as a home Mom, added one volunteer activity after another until we were all exhausted. What is it that drives us? I remember the afternoon when my daughter, then 4 (now 20) lay down next to me on the sofa one day when I was too tired and cranky to make dinner. We both conked right out for about 10 minutes, and woke up — AMAZING– cheerful, relaxed and refreshed. Why don’t we rest more? Anyway, you raise good questions, and a wise challenge. Good post.

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    1. Hi Julia,

      A friend of mine stopped by the other day. She provided physical therapy school-based services but left the agency recently due to the work she was bringing home regularly. (We won’t discuss the insanity of how many stops she made on any given day from school to school.) She currently works 2 jobs, feels she makes more $ than before but still can’t make ends meet–forget getting rest. Let’s not go there on health insurance, and I have no right to complain. Educators, at least in NJ, still do okay. One can hope, esp. with Obama-care scheduled to take effect.

      Every now and again I too, just have to crash for about 20 minutes when I get home. I don’t really nap but resting my eyes for that short a recharge period does the trick. . For someone who missed out on the ‘knows how to relax gene’ that’s a milestone! 😉

      I am so glad you stopped in and that you took the time to comment! I greatly appreciate your kind words and it’s always nice to have a new voice here. Take care and thank you!

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