“Hump day” – Isn’t that what folks endearingly refer to as Wednesday? Of course, in the traditional sense of the expression, the term has to with being past the halfway point in the workweek. From there it is a downhill slide to the coming weekend. Of course, Wednesday is also seen as the toughest day in the workweek.
I’ve known folks who lived for the weekends. They detested their job, but held on to it as if locked to a ball and chain because the money was good. Their income was enough to financially live comfortably and still have some left over for whatever met their fancy.
Fortunately, I’m a stranger to that. I’ve had the good fortune to really enjoy my work. Unfortunately, a high percentage of the workforce cannot truthfully say that. Some researchers say that as many as 40% of the workforce live without the concept of job satisfaction. No wonder they live for the weekend!
Evidence can be found around every corner. People in traffic honk their horns, angrily cut in and out in front of other cars, engage in conflict both at the office and at home, populate bars until closing time and eventually show back up at work again on Monday to start the work week all over again. It is a treadmill they hate, but they can’t free themselves from the financial security.
I think Forbes sorted it out accurately when they asserted: “If you hate your job, you hate your life.” If you are one of the 40% who are miserable at work, that statement should give you pause for concern. “If you hate your job, you hate your life.”
If Forbes is right, is the converse also true? Is it logical to suggest that: “If you love your job, you love your life?” From my vantage point, that assertion is irrefutably true. My life is good. So is my work. I’m a pretty happy-go-lucky kind of guy and I think a lot of that has to do with job satisfaction. That’s not to say I am always on top of the world with a sense of elation.
Yesterday and last night was one of those atypical kinds of melancholy experiences for me. Truthfully, I think it had something to do with dreading “Hump Day” – Wednesday. By the way, this is the day that weighed heavily on my mind last night. I wouldn’t describe it as panic attack, but it was closely akin to an undercurrent of I’m not sure what? Perhaps restlessness is the best way I know to describe it. I found it a little unsettling.
Okay, so what was the source of yesterday’s meltdown? I’m overstating my response, but I’m also opting to be more transparent than I’m usually willing to acknowledge. I was bothered with thoughts of hump day, but there were also other contributing factors.
For example, for the past couple of days, I’ve sorted through files and focused on getting rid of a lot of stuff in my office that no one else is going to want or need. Seriously, I’ve held on to files that I’ve never looked at since initially filing them away.
I had binders upon binders of minimum standards, work related policies and procedures (most of which I’ve written), stacks upon stacks of proposed legislation with highlights and notes written in the margin. The list goes on and on and none of that stuff was any longer worth the paper it is written on.
Best practice is always a work in progress and that means that 98% of what I was holding on to was dated and no longer relevant. I picked up a copy of minimum standards (all 300 plus pages of them) and noticed paper clips on almost every page with highlighting and notations in the margins. I had used the document to flag my memory in providing staff training related to changes in minimum standards. Other than the intrinsic value that it represented related to thought and effort in time, the document was no longer of value. It was already dated.
At any rate, yesterday morning I loaded up a cart with all the manuals and dated materials I’d gleaned from my office. I was on my way to the dumpster to be done away with it. When I got to the dumpster behind our office building, it was filled to over-flowing. There wasn’t room for even one binder. I looked across the street to one of our other office buildings and thought: “What about over there?”
As I crossed the busy street pushing the cart loaded with manuals, publications and notebooks of standards and old files, it felt awkward. Fortunately, when I made it to the dumpster, the dumpster was mostly empty. I had plenty of room.
So for what seemed like an inordinate length of time, I tossed manuals and notebooks into the dumpster. When I was done, I breathed a sigh of relief. It was short lived. It was then that the thought hit me like a ton of bricks: “I had just tossed a paper trail of decades of my work into the dumpster”. Worthless? Yeah – probably, but the visual impact of seeing it strewn in squalor was unsettling.
So is that what Solomon meant when he wrote: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away…”
The unsettling experienced of last night had something to do with the fact that I was dreading Wednesday – hump day. Wednesday, May 31, 2017 represents a big hurdle for me. It is the toughest hump day I’ve ever faced, but this morning I have the peace and confidence of knowing “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens”.
Unlike the indentured servant who is eventually freed from his ball and chain, I prefer to think of myself as a hummingbird or butterfly opting to seek nectar in a different location. Isn’t that one of the advantages of retirement? Today I walk away from a job that has been a mainstay of support in lots of different dimensions. I will miss it greatly, but I’m excited about what lies around the next unseen corner. After all, there is a time for everything.
All My Best!