New Work Ethics Really Work

I worked in the world of corporate high finance nearly my entire adult life, and I loved it. I loved it so much, in fact, I stayed at my favorite job at a music company for 15 years. Although I wasn't in love with spending my 40-50 hour work week in an office cubicle (until I was promoted to the corner one with the huge window), I woke up on Monday looking forward to my job...

I didn't linger in bed in those days, even on the weekend; as soon as my eyes were open, my feet were on the floor. Neither was I a morning person. I just figured out early on that repeatedly hitting the snooze button and getting ready for work at breakneck speed did me no favors where energy, self-esteem, and attitude were concerned. I'd get up, get my coffee, and start my day, allowing an hour for myself that wasn't work-related: email, blogging, etc. Before computers, I worked the puzzles in the newspaper to stimulate my brain. I always had at least an hour commute by car, so I had to get up early, sometimes as early as four in the morning. When my boys were little and I was a single mom, I did housework during that free hour because I didn't savor spending my evenings and weekends cleaning house and doing laundry. I was young and I had a musical careersongs to write and gigs to performzero desire to waste my free time on a stupid house. And because I've always been a tidy sort and my house is always clean and orderly, I found shortcuts around kids, pets, meals, errands, chores, gardening, and the myriad other things that steal the hours from us almost without our notice.

It wasn't until 2006, after I was forced to retire for health reasons, that I quit bounding out of bed as soon as I opened my eyes. That was a hard adjustment because until only very recently, I ate myself up with feelings of guilt. It was finally the physical inability to leap from bed that ended the insanity. These days, especially on Mondays, I work from bed until about 11:30. I enjoy my regulation two cups of coffee, what little breakfast I eat in order to make my morning cocktail of meds kick in more easily, chat in Facebook and Twitter, and get the creative juices flowing for the day and night ahead by doing this: blogging. I do all of the things around the house that need to be done, then, I normally write from about ten at night until four in the morning after everyone's asleep and Nigel is in his kennel.

It was hard breaking the habit. We're so programmed by the Work Ethic to give our jobs most of our mental attention. We're not at our job only when we're at our desk or work station, we're at our job from the time we're showering and dressing to the time we get home, and many people bring work home with them, which they do from dinner to bed time. Now that I've broken the habit, I no longer feel guilty about lingering in bed until nearly noon. True, I spend a lot of that time writing, so I guess I'm not entirely free of the Work Ethic. But I have found a way to appease both it and my muse.