Saturday, May 26, 2007

Work != Life

I was reading a recent post over at A Wandering Eyre (along with some of the responses to it at a couple of other places), and I realized something that is sounding odd in my head well before I type it, but I'm going to try to make it come out right.

I think the "My work is not my life" realization is something that everyone comes to in time. For some, it comes very early - to the point that there are people who only show up for a paycheck. They have jobs but not necessarily careers and they are fine with that. And as long as they're happy with the way their life is, I've got no business saying anything's wrong with them.

Then there are those who learn it later. It took me a while to learn it - for me, it was in my previous career, one where, by the time I left it I was incredibly miserable - I don't think it's possible for me to really explain how miserable I was now that I'm almost five years removed from it. I brought that knowledge into librarianship with me, and it's one of the things I've tried to make a point of remembering - and to be not at work when I'm not there.

When I leave the office, I try to leave the politics and such behind me at my desk. Does it always work? No. Am I still a librarian on the weekends or on vacation or what not? Yes, I am. And I still get joy out of what I do and I love it. But if I don't take the time for myself, then I'll push myself into that state when I am miserable again - and I don't want to be there again, because it would mean that I'd lost the joy of librarianship.

So for the other young librarians out there - remember your passions, your loves, beyond librarianship. You can't live and breathe your career 24/7 and expect to keep loving it. Go do whatever else you need to do to make yourself walk back in the door focused and content. These are the things we have to do to stay sane.

Edited to add: I realized later that final paragraph may seem condescending, depending on how you read it (first time I read through it was fine, then later I got the other reading). I am still in a lot of ways a young librarian - and I am definitely a new librarian. And the things I can say can only come from my experiences and background. I want the ones with passion to not end up burned out, and anything that they can do to help themselves not do so is fine by me.


kgs said...

Yeah, baby!

Michelle said...

Very well said.

I believe in doing more then "showing up" because to me, showing up is not doing your best on most days. We should always try to do our best at whatever we are doing.

It is the leaving work behind when you leave for the day that I think bogs most of us down.

I am glad we are all "talking" about this as I think awareness of self is good and talking about it with others is even better.