When Work Spills Over Into Life

In the past I’ve mentioned how life is slower down here.  People like to stop and chat.  Businesses are generally not open after regular business hours (although Saturdays are something of an exception in some cases).   Sundays are generally devoted to church and watching the game.  And at work the general attitude is “well if its not an emergency it can wait till tomorrow.”

All of that is very refreshing.  While New York is a city with a lot of energy, being always on the go can be tiring.  Yet sometimes projects just need to get done.   Take the Power Company, for example. Several months back there was an outage on a Sunday morning.  I fully expected to not have power before the afternoon, if not Monday.  But the electricity came back in an hour or two.  So obviously someone had to be on call that day.

But there are times when you want to get stuff done even when it can wait. At the library we are working to implement a piece of software called FOG.  It is designed to allow organizations to centrally manage computers and gives the user the ability to clone a hard drive and put that image on another computer all from the comfort of one’s office.  But being open source, getting it is kind of like getting a free kitten.  You might not pay any money, but there is still the hidden cost of implementing, configuring, and maintaining it.

Doing so has taken up a great deal of my time.   Now being away from the project for two days is not bad, and actually feels good.  But Martin Luther King Day is Monday and so the library is closed.  Plus I will not be in Tuesday morning and there’s no telling what will need to be done in the afternoon.   Thus it could be till Wednesday before I am able to devote time to the project.  On Friday afternoon, that was just too much. Maybe it’s my inner New Yorker coming out, but I just couldn’t let it go.  Thus Friday night and much of Saturday was spent working on FOG at home.  The only break was a trip out to the Delta State Women’s Basketball game.  I skipped the Men’s because it would have been too much time away from working, something my next door neighbor found baffling.  But all the effort paid off.  I made a major breakthrough last night and can now move forward upon returning to work.

Of course there is a price to be paid, usually in lost free time.  In my case this would otherwise have been a dull weekend spent watching Netflix and reading.  But in the future such efforts may conflict with family commitments and friends.  So getting into the habit of working on weekends is a dangerous thing because you can end of sacrificing your personal life for things that can honestly wait till later. For that reason I studiously avoided setting foot in the actual library building despite it being 2 blocks away.  So perhaps there is something to be said for sitting back and relaxing a bit.

Article by Mike

Mike is the Head of Discovery Services for the Delta State University Library. He has lived in Cleveland since May 2013.

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