sawmill sprawl

I don’t know if it’s a temporary side-effect of seven weeks away from the sawmill, but I’ve been consciously less “over zealous” about all things bread-winning since returning.  I realize that sentence stretches the limit of structure and comprehension so I’ll re-phrase: It’s hard to see the return on working as hard as I was before I left.

I think this has always been the case, it’s just my natural tendency to “fill-up” on work.  I’m no workaholic, in fact I’m inherently quite lazy, but I do tend to take on work as it comes with very little selectivity.  Put simply, unless I determine a task has zero value, I’m apt to accept it and find a way to get it done.  At the sawmill this trait is received well, and has earned me both dollars and accolades.  In the grand scheme of things, however, I feel it’s both unnecessary and potentially unhealthy.

One can achieve workplace success in eight hours daily; it most certainly can be done.  Modern cubicle-bound jobs, however, have transcended the physical and geographical boundaries which governed our jobs of yore.  I don’t need to be anywhere in particular to do my job, nor do I have to work during any prescribed timeslot.  If I have an internet connection and a computer I could work in 23min bursts from midnight to 7am and no one would care if I was on the moon.  The unbounded nature of these jobs in the tele-presence age makes for easy “infection” into what, historically, has been non-working hours.

And that’s where you get burned.  It’s so easy to do mail on your phone, take one call at 11pm, work on that presentation after church on Sunday.  I don’t go to a steel factory, a refinery, a coal mine, or an assembly plant.  I don’t punch in at 8am and clock back out again when the dinosaur pulls that bird’s tailfeather.  Work happens on my terms, and as great as I believe that is for productivity and flexibility it can be lethal to the concept of real free-time.

Being away for seven weeks reminds you of this.  Truly severed time is precious and should be savored.  I vowed to myself that I’d be vigilant about this sawmill-sprawl.  Better guarding my 5pm and 8pm and Saturday mornings.  It may seem like this theme is one that dominates my writing, or that I devote a lot of time to it.  So maybe I do.  I suppose I started writing four paragraphs ago simply to comment on how I’m less-busy, and happily so, since returning.

Don’t worry, though, I’m sure work will fix that… it has a way of filling in the cracks and I have a way of letting it.  I’ll remain on alert for encroachment, though, you can bet on it.


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