Saturday, February 16, 2008

The scariest thing I've ever written.

The scariest thing I've ever written.

When I was in the fourth grade I watched the movie “Jaws.” It’s a nautical thriller about a giant shark that haunts the deep, dark waters of Martha’s Vineyard. In my head I pretended that the floor in our family room was the ocean. I believed that if I could keep my feet off the carpet, I would be safe and the shark would not bite me.

Now, even though I am 32 years old, I automatically pull my feet off the floor if I see something scary on television or in a movie theater. It’s a silly thing to do, but I promise that for hours at a time I have balanced my legs upright during movies in the hope that not making contact with the floor would protect me.

But there is very little that can save me from what I am about to tell you.

Maybe it won’t scare you, maybe you already knew, but when I read this I was surprised. I reread the sentences over and over again until I could make sense of them. And then I walked out into the rain and screamed at the cosmos from a long row of grey steps. (OK, I didn’t do that last part, but I’m thinking about being more sensational having recently read a fairly sensational Christian book that is selling well. It’s a problem I have.)

Here is the paragraph that caught me off guard:

Harvard economist Juliet B. Schor, in her book The Overworked American, writes that "The average employed person is now on the job an additional 163 hours, or the equivalent of one month a year, compared to figures for 1969.”

What does that mean?

We found an extra month of work in our lives.

We invented a 13th month in our year and it’s designed for work.

We carved out 20 more days from our already swollen calendar.

We work too much.

That information above might not be new to you, but have you ever gone through the exercise of understanding where we got the extra time from? What or maybe even who have we robbed in order to shoe horn in an extra month of work? Because it’s not that someone found a new month called “Flubumary” and we just decided to use that.

Instead we decided to get up earlier and go to sleep later. Instead we decided to stretch work into our cars and our dinner tables and our even our bedrooms. Instead, Saturday became the new Friday and Sunday became a new day to prepare for Monday.

I don’t really have a solution to this new month we’ve created. The scary thing is that we’ll probably try to find another. Things just tend to trend that way. But if we took little steps to get there, maybe we need to take little steps away.

My little step, the only one I really commit to faithfully is working from 7-4 every weekday. Keeping this schedule helps me avoid traffic and gain more time with my young family who goes to bed early.

What do you think your own little steps look like?

This post goes well with:
1. This is what $3 gets you.
2. Would you trade your dad for a Mini Cooper?


Aaron said...

don't get a blackberry!

Aaron said...

hey Prodigal Jon can I add you to my blogroll?

Chris said...

Yeah man. Good stuff. Great to hear you putting family at the centre of the decision-making process.

Three things I do -

1. I use all of my holiday time. Sounds silly but I know lots of people who don't.

2. Morning is the best time of day for my kids so I don't usually leave home until 9:00 or 9:15 and stay at the office until 5:30 or so. I'm not the first one to arrive but I'm usually the last to leave. Nobody here has an issue with that. It takes me 7 minutes to get across town so traffic isn't an issue :)

3. This is a staff thing but once a month we take a half day to spend in prayer. We just put it on our calendar and everyone knows that time is off limits to everyone else.

CXLink said...

I 2nd Chris's take all your vacation.

I guess my problem is my work is also my hobby. Sure I design stuff all day but sometimes when I get home all I want to do is sit down and tinker with that new type face I found or try to push a logo further.

Granted theses things aren't for "work" work and I may only do them once a week, but I find so much pleasure in using the gifts God that even though I am getting paid I don't consider it work.