Thursday, September 09, 2004

The work-life conundrum

I am ever so frustrated with my job, and trying to figure out what I can do with it. The hours are rough - I put in 10 hours yesterday, plus about 11.5 on Tuesday and two or three on Labor Day. It's entirely deadline oriented - we sent the paper to the printer last night, which is why I have the freedom to be sitting here at 7:45, unshowered, no breakfast, reading blogs and listening to the rain. So today and tomorrow I "only" have to work eight-hour days.

As I was driving home last night, I was trying to imagine myself doing this job if we had a child. And I really can't envision it. We've developed this culture at work in which the editorial and art departments have super-high standards, and work the hours necessary to meet them. Tellingly, we're all young - 33 and under - and only one of us has a child (the kid is 14 or 15 and very self-sufficient). I worry about our ability to hold it together if any of us decide to reproduce. And I especially worry about my own ability to do what the job requires - something that, at best, is pretty damn frustrating and dissatisfying - if I have a little bundle of love waiting for me at home.

Although I know that the decision to have a baby has to come from the Big Picture, and that if we wait until our job stuff is perfect we'll never do it, I'm a little overwhelmed by trying to figure out kids and work in one fell swoop. I've been with this company for nearly five years, and it's afforded me a ton of opportunity. But I'm increasingly dissatisfied with what the job demands from me. I'm working on delegating a few things, but my staff is (almost) as overworked as I am.

I'm thinking about bringing this up - in general, not specific to me - with the publisher next week. I am really worried about burnout, both for myself and my staff. I don't have any solutions - other than getting funding for an additional person, something that won't happen until January at the earliest - but I'm thinking the publisher needs to be aware of the level of frustration among a good half of her staff. D. thinks she'll immediately glom onto the mere hint of kiddies - which would be entirely typical - so I've got to think of a way to discuss this that doesn't specifically include the implications of procreation.

And with that Deep Thought, I'm headed to the shower.