Friday, June 09, 2006

Why Am I Still Awake?

One of the biggest adjustments I've had with joining the working world as an attorney has been the lack of free time. So that I feel like I have a life and have enough time to just be, I often stay up entirely too late. Tonight is no exception even though I know I have to wake up in less than seven hours. But I love being alone, and as an introvert, I literally need that time to feel energized.

When I taught school I had to be at work about an hour earlier than I do now, but I was home from work by 4:00. I now routinely don't get home until close to 6:30 or 7:00 or on nights like tonight (meeting/dinner for work), I get home around 9:00. By the time I went to the gym and showered, it was 10:15.

The best hours were when I was a nanny for a family who only had one child. Sure they were a very odd family with lots of problems, but I only worked Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to about 9:00 a.m. and from 2:50 to 6:00. That left so much free time to read, think, pray, sleep, play, and do all of the other things I enjoy doing or need to do. Of course, there was no intellectual challenge with that job. Where is the balance?

And my hours aren't that bad. 8:30 to a few hours here and there on the weekend and at home. Ten days of vacation plus the major bank holidays. And flexibility when I "need" to leave early on Friday (I just make up the hours on another day). But I just don't think I'm cut out to work as much as I do. I know that sounds ridiculous, and perhaps I'm just a product of my generation. And/or I'm lazy.

Or maybe I have unrealistic expectations because my mom is a school counselor and enjoys approximately 60 more days of vacation a year than I do. That's a LOT more time off (an additional 3 months really) plus she has real sick days (when I miss work, I essentially have to make up the hours). I definitely struggle with comparing our jobs, especially at the holidays when I have a day and a half off from Christmas, and she has almost a month off from school. When I taught school I definitely loved the constant holidays and time off and the hours, but I had a hard time imagining the monotony of teaching the same subject material year after year. My current job offers an enormous variety of work and the law is always changing, and I'm constantly challenged on an intellectual level. I guess I need to find a compromise.

I especially think that when I think about the fact that I'll never have more than two weeks off at a time (assuming I used all of my vacation at once) for the next thirty years....crazy! Other countries seem to value vacation time a lot more than we do, although I realize there are a lot of reasons and implications for those countries' vacation policies. Perhaps I'm just having some growing pains and coming to terms with being an adult. Is anyone else struggling with this? Does anyone else think about quitting their jobs and being a nanny or waitress or teaching English abroad or just living off their savings and selling their car, etc. so that they can relax and just be without the constantcy of the real world?

p.s. Don't worry Dad....You know me--ally all talk.


kimberly said...

I feel you, Allyson...I am struggling with exactly the same thing. I am about to go on vacation for a week and I am already dreading the fact that it is going to end after only a week. I don't want to come back and get on the hamster wheel and start running nonstop again. I feel like if I keep doing this, I am going to run myself into the ground. I am starting to think that intellectual challenge and passion are great but only in MODERATION.

spam_price said...

I completely understand where you are coming from and probably could have written this entry myself; although I probably would have tied it into a John Mayer song or something and talked about having “a quarter life crises”. There does seem to be a sense of growing pains and seeing greener pastures at times. The baby boomers had their mid-life crises and us Gen-X’ers don’t want to repeat those mistakes, so we tend to question life longer and search harder for what makes us happy. We are doing it in our personal relationships – getting married later in life and if not our career choices changing our company locations change frequently.

I often wonder what it would be like to quit my job, to step out and take the risk of entering a new field that has nothing to do with computers at all. Teaching, ministry, counseling…..I find it disconcerting to be approaching 30 and wondering what I want to do when I grow up. You are certainly not alone! I’m also a night owl :-)

Donk said...


Aaron said...

I work from 6:30am to 3pm. My manager is 2500mi away. Amazingly, he is the most supportive manager I've ever had. I work with a great team of guys. I have excellent medical benefits. I pull at least three weeks of vacation a hear.

Quit and be a waitress or teach English? HA!

(Jealous yet?)

Aaron said...

er, hear = Year.