Do you have today off in honor of Presidents Day? I do not have the day off. I’ll be reading slush later today, as well as working on a couple of my own things. And that’s fine with me. It’s raining here in February, which is weird and not a particularly good sign, but the sound of the rain on the roof is the perfect accompaniment to working with poetry. My partner didn’t have the day off either, so it’s just me and the dog hanging around. She’s been sticking close to me since December, when we lost our older dog.
I have to admit that it’s nice to have a dog around when I’m working. She makes me slow down and go outside, even in the rain. She’s the reason my eyes get screen breaks often. Truffles (named after the chocolate treats, not the horrendously expensive fungi) is the perfect office mate.
She is, however, looking up at me while I type. So, I will get to my questions of the day: what do you do with your day off if you have one? If you are a freelance writer, artist, etc., do you stick to a work week as much as possible for balance? What does that look like? And if you are an essential professional, e.g., nurse, doctor, firefighter, police officer, etc., how did you make peace with the necessity of working when others do not? Was your passion for your work enough?
My curiosity about days off and what makes a work week made me look up the terms workweek and weekend. That so many countries around the world have roughly eight-hour (or less) work days and weekends of some sort that fall either on Saturday-Sunday or Friday-Saturday surprised me. Labor unions and religious traditions have shaped what a weekend looks like, and international business ties have helped shape the general uniformity of work hours; all of this has come into its current form over the past 100 years or so. Thus, a day off for something like Presidents Day that gives us a three-day weekend is truly a modern event.
In my world, work hours are a slippery thing. I try to be in front of the computer during so-called regular work week hours Monday through Friday. But a lot of slush comes in over the weekends at Gyroscope Review since many (and maybe most) writers can’t afford to live without another job. Sometimes I read work on the weekends, sometimes not. Along with that trade-off comes the flexibility to care for my granddaughter on days when her school is closed but her parents need to go to work. When the publication date for our quarterly issue falls near a holiday, time to celebrate has to wait. But I can do my work in my pajamas if I want, so it all works out. I always come back to the fact that I’ve chosen this path and am truly lucky to have done so.
Whether you have today off or you are working away somewhere, I hope you are doing something you’re passionate about or, at least, are heading toward a goal that makes you happy.