Saturday, June 18, 2011

Work Guilt

"Work," according to

exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplishsomething; labor; toil.
something on which exertion or labor is expended; a task or undertaking: The students finished their work in class.
productive or operative activity.

"Work," according to the hubby:

1. doing something when you'd rather be doing something else.

Just yesterday I realized that these definitions--the hubby's, in particular--were wrapping me up in "work guilt." You see, since I no longer teach part-time (or full-time, with part-time pay, which is what I'd been doing for the past 8 years), I have only four major "jobs," one of which I just acquired. I'm a mom, a writer, a Zumba instructor, and an interior craftsman.

The problem with that is I ADORE three out of four of those jobs... and I really like the last one, except for cutting tile (I hate that). Why does that lead to work guilt, you ask? Because "work" is supposed to mean "toil" or something one would rather not do. And I'd rather do all four of these things than do some of the fun stuff people yearn for. For instance, yesterday I spent about 10 hours "working." I wrote for 6 hours, mothered for... um... the whole day, practiced Zumba dances for 2 1/2 hours, and even worked on the house for a good 2. Wait, how many hours did I say I worked? I'm not a math major, so I won't guess. I also fit in a 1/2 hour of piano, something that is not work. But I feel like I played all day.

Am I doing something wrong? I got up at four this morning, and as soon as this blog post is done I'm back to working on my novel... and then more Zumba... and more mothering. And I'll love every minute of it.

The guilt will come. I know it will. It always does. I hope I ignore it and continue to do the "work" I love most.


  1. You are so right Shakes. If it isn't a pain in the ass with someone to report to and give you a plate load of crap it just isn't work. How dare you enjoy working? You know you really have developed a crumby life going since you've moved.

  2. Why should you hate what you're doing? If it wasn't for politics, I'd enjoy the heck out of my day job.

    If you're going to spend so much of your day doing "work," by all means pick something you like to do.

    [I might add that even the best jobs involve grunt work, those things you have to get through even though you don't like those aspects: punishing children or taking care of them when they're being whiny, cutting tile (as you said), necessary but uninteresting scenes and marketing the writing, Zumba - well I wouldn't know about that. Every job, good and bad has some of those aspects. In my case, my manga obsession involves some grunt file work and learning Japanese, though that's fun.]

  3. You like a lot of the same things I do. However, there's few things more satisfying than work you enjoy doing. Those of us who have been there are fortunate.

    I also love Zumba, though I can hardly keep up. Curves has a semi-Zumba class I'm going to try. Maybe I can do that.

  4. I consider doing what you love is a success… and us fools who have to work at things we hate, or don’t want to do, are the ones hoping we could be like you.
    That’s my goal in life—finding something I like to do every day, and make a living at it.
    The last thing I would have is GUILT about it!!!

  5. Walking Man, don't I know it. I should just moan about it every blog entry. I'm sure that'll get readers to come back.

    I think EVERY job has its moments... I hate grading, but I absolutely LOVED being in the classroom. I naturally wish that I didn't have to completely rewrite the latter 2/3 of my current novel revision... but I do. Still, it's fantastic work. And tomorrow I'm getting back into the tile cutting.

    Writer Lady, I'm getting to the point when I like at least 1 1/2 hours of Zumba, unless I have other tasks pressing on me (which is usually the case). We have a Curves near here, though, so I'm planning to check this week to see if they have a Zumba section. I can get training for that online.

    Yes, but Jeff, you are a man. Men do not have guilt running through their veins the way women do. I have to remind myself to just enjoy the moments I'm in, on task and focused on what I love. The outcome will be there, but I'm not going to wait for it. I have too much to do!