I came home last night, around 5:30PM, feeling weary. A stuffy nose had been developing, and despite sucking on zinc tablets all day long, it was not subsiding. Eric and I decided to take a nap, then we would work out, then head to my favorite Vietnamese place across from Clipper Stadium.
Well, I didn't wake up until 6AM this morning. I slept for 12 HOURS! And I needed every minute of it. My perception is that I enjoy a slower pace in Lancaster. That perception is influenced by the beautiful farmland and the charm of the Amish buggies. And yet, I find that my life is not as restful as I would like it to be.
In this day in age, there are so many responsibilities that it's hard to keep track of anything anymore. Managing a career has become a career in and of itself. It's not if you do the job well, it's who you developed a relationship with at the top. With all that hob-nobbing, who has time to actually do the job? Raising children is of the utmost importance, and I hear it's extremely rewarding, but it takes more time and energy than anything else, as it should. If you're not shuttling the kids to their extracurricular activities, you're shuttling yourself to your own extracurricular activities. Those activities have become so important because they at least give you the hope that you're not a slave to those things that help pay the bills. And for all that effort, let's hope you enjoy your extracurriculars.
As my life activities continue to build, I did something the other week that I just don't do. I flaked out on an appointment and was an entire week off about when and where I was supposed to be. You know it's bad when someone you regard as "flaky" is now thinking YOU are. So I talked to my admin assistant at work a few days ago about getting a... *gulp* ...Blackberry. I am one of the few managers in my building who have been holding out. I don't want to be found at all times, and I just know that if I see that blinking red light, I'll be pulled to it like a child to a delicate antique vase.
I had always thought there were two camps of Berriers, as I call them. The first are people who spend so much time in meetings or in other cities that it truly is a necessity. These are people who are executives or consultants. I don't begrudge them their Berries, but nor would I want their jobs. The second are people who want to seem more important then they really are. I honestly never understood why most of the people in my building have one. So I could only deduce that they wanted to look cool.
But now I'm starting to think about it differently. Technology has made it so that life is more complex and demanding than ever before. When I first started working in the early 90s, I had a desktop. I COULDN'T take my work home with me. Today, I travel with a light laptop, and it's expected that I check my email when I land at my destination. Why? Because I can. The Berry was born of the very technology that is making it necessary.
As I continue to hold out, my peers are able to sit in a meeting and shoot off emails to their employees to get answers and update the group as it pops up on their screen, or to get them started on a project that the group just decided needed to be done in a week. I, on the other hand, add it to my list of "things to do" in my very old-fashioned, but fashionable, spiral notebook. I'll be able to tell my employees what they need to do when I get back to my desk at the end of the day. And at the end of the day, I could have anywhere from 25-50 emails waiting for me. My peers blow those emails away during those boring lulls in any one of the 8 meetings we have in a day.
So I feel behind. I'm running 150 mph each day, and I'm behind. And maybe, just maybe, I can keep up if I have that evil device buzzing at my belt. The first thing I'll do is schedule my next 12-hour slumber.