Thursday, January 28, 2010

Time-out. And action!

How not to get A-Way from work:

Answer email. Call colleagues. Check email. Snorkle the web. Poke through the news. J.D. Salinger died today, who knew he was still alive? Check out the new iPad. Steven Jobs is definitely still alive. Clean desk. Hold fast to the delusion that you’re busy, racing against the clock, catching up and making up for lost time. . .at work.

Reporting in on “time-out,” I observe that work deprivation can be a form of torture for the workaholic.

Tough times, tough town. January in Detroit. However sunny and clear the day, it is bone chilling cold. Here in what feels like the epicenter of the Great Recession, “time out” for all too many friends and close colleagues means time out of work. I have not been cut from the workforce, but the blade feels ever so close.

Home today, I couldn’t be busier at work, my desk piled with books to read, proposals to write, new projects in development - all engaging and challenging enough to keep me occupied. Gainfully employed. And yet, becalmed in this sea of work, my time is my own today, on a “Furlough Day,” an imposed day off without pay.

Furlough. Isn’t that the word for temporary leave of absence from the army or from a prison term? Furlough. In Detroit that’s shorthand for lay low, wait and see how the next quarter will go. Furlough. Let’s share the wealth in reverse. Better news than Lay Off, if everyone sacrifices just a day off, we’ll all get through. Isn’t that the spirit of non-profit?

Ok, boohoo, so I feel like a polar bear swimming in open water. With a day off of my choosing every pay period, I have all kinds of time for Time-Outs to plan. Or not. The day awaits, the wind blows fresh and clear, there’s still a good hour and a half before the sun dwindles, and my resolve fades. Still time for a Starbuck’s and a curl-up with a good book. ( reading The Maytrees, Annie Dillard).

Up in the Air. Oh yeah, I’ve seen it.


  1. Testing. . . why posting comments doesn't seem to work for Ann