There have been some alcoholics in my family. That means I have a genetic capacity for addiction. However, my drug isn’t alcohol. It’s workohol. I’ve been waging a losing battle with my tendency toward overwork for the past 20 years. I suppose like any other addiction, the first step is to admit it’s a problem. My wife wasn’t able to help me with this one, because it’s been her problem too. Part of moving away from the big city is an attempt to help us both cure ourselves from being workaholics.
In her case, the cost in wasted potential was significant. Despite the fact that she had the talent to have been a top-level screenwriter or novelist, her life-force was pissed away over three decades of writing assigned news stories for the idiot box. She worked overtime and most holidays. Despite her big, fat 401k and the pension that will help make MY retirement a lot more financially comfortable than it would have been otherwise, I think she was robbed. I’ve seen her unfinished works. Her unpublished material is a hell of a lot more meaningful than the broadcast stuff that won her five Emmy Awards. I understand what happened, though. She couldn’t say no to the paycheck.
I’m more of a hard-core workaholic. It’s not even about the money in my case. If someone gives me tasks and sends the message that what I’m doing is important, I’m pretty much a goner. Sometimes what I do really is important, but sometimes it isn’t, and I’m not a consistently good judge of which is which. Either way, in the past I would give up weekends, holidays, family time and the chance to enjoy any aspect of nature’s beauty for work. There was a sewage back-up at the building that houses the Urgent Care where I take X-Rays. It’s been closed for two weeks. Instead of taking pleasurable advantage of the unexpected time off, I immediately added shifts working at my other job. Here I am in one of the most breathtaking vistas of the inhabitable part of the planet, working an average of 60+ hours every week. I must be nuts.
Maybe this time I’ll get sober. Once I finish qualifying for my new duties as a medication aide at the Dementia Care facility, my work will be less physically demanding. It will be a better balance between brawn and brain. Right now it’s about 75% weight-lifting and cleaning, 15% relating to patients and staff and 10% documentation. The new job will be more like 25-25-25 on those three plus 25% medication preparation and pharmaceutical re-stocking. I might even be able to take a couple of days off per week, if I allow myself to do it. I hope I have the strength.
In the month I’ve worked there, two care-givers have quit. One had been there a couple of years. She got burned out and just stopped showing up, without bothering to call. The other one decided after her first few days that she couldn’t do the job. I should respect that level of honesty, but I’m ashamed to admit I don’t. Something in me assumes you should take whatever crap is thrown at you, because work’s work.
I really must change this behavior. There’s supposed to be more to life than trading time for pay.
I would be happy to entertain your suggestions.