Motivated Slacking

I work a lot of night shifts.

Often my coworkers, especially the new ones, ask me if I like working nights.

I do.  The pace a night is drastically different.  The smaller crew lends a more team like atmosphere.  I’ve had surgeons mop the floor for me at night, something that would never EVER happen during the day.  But if I’m honest, if I truly get down to the real reason that I like night shifts- it’s because there’s a chance, every so often if I’m really really lucky I won’t have to do anything at all.

Well, that’s not entirely accurate.  I’ll still have to do about an hour and a half worth of stuff but that’s not too bad for a twelve hour shift.   (Unless I work a weekend, weekend’s have the potential to be truly perfect.)

So having a twelve hour shift in which to do an hour and a half’s work you might think I would take it slow, pace myself.  You might think that I’d do some of my paper work in the first couple hours, maybe about midnight I’d head into the core and pull a little suture but then maybe I’d wait until three or four o’clock to do the instrumentation (I know you have no idea what I’m talking about but just go with me here.)

You’d be wrong.

I start a shift at seven o’clock and if all goes according to my own personal plan I’m done with everything I have to do by eight thirty.  I get to work, put my head down, and power through what I have to do as fast as I can.  On nights when we have cases to do it’s not unusual to find me doing bits of my paperwork in between them when most of my coworkers would be chatting. I’ll pull suture while I’m waiting for the anesthesiologist to talk to the parents instead of getting a little something to eat.  If I could make the cases themselves go faster I would, but I don’t have any control over that.  So I do what I can to get my stuff done at the same time.

Why the working like a maniac when it’s not necessary?  So that I can maximize my slacking time of course.  I want to get all my stuff done and I want to get it down as fast as I can so that I don’t have that hanging over my head while I surf the internet.  If my work is done I have no guilt if at two o’clock I’m a little tired and I take a small nap rest.  I’d never sleep as that’s not allowed.

If there’s work to be done, I’ll be honest I probably won’t volunteer.  But if tapped I’ll do it and do it without complaint, but I’m not going to take my time.  I’ll do it as efficiently as I possibly can.

I used to work as a checker at a big box super store (no, not that one) I was the fastest checker there (seriously, they kept track) I wasn’t the friendliest, if you wanted to chat about the barbeque you’re buying for you were in the wrong line, but if you want to get out of there, step right up.  And I had customers who noticed.  More than once I had people tell me that I was their favorite checker because I was fast.  I just hated seeing that big long line, it looked like work.  I wanted it gone.  So I did what I could to get it gone.

I do the same thing at home.  I get up in the morning and get as much done as I can as rapidly as I can so that I can read all afternoon.  My kids see me working so hard, and without complaint, and assume that I like doing it. (Sadly, I remember saying that to my mom.)  Oh, how wrong they are.  It’s just that I’ve learned that it doesn’t pay to put it off.  I’m the mom, if I don’t do it, no one’s going to.  But I’m not wasting my time, yet, I’ve got blogging to do.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. bythelbs
    Jul 17, 2008 @ 16:04:11

    Maximize slacking time…I think you’re really onto something here. Do you offer seminars? You should look into that—potential gold mine, I’d bet.

    You would totally have been my favorite checker as long as you never bagged my yogurt with the canned goods. You wouldn’t have done that, would you? Please say no. Lie if you have to, so I can continue reading your blog, which I love.

    Oh, and just FYI, it’s really annoying how the Onion video keeps starting every time I navigate to your page. I have to go down there and pause it every time! Don’t get me wrong—it’s a nice video—but I’ve seen it now, I’m over it. It won’t keep me from coming back or anything. I’m just sayin’.

  2. chronicler
    Jul 18, 2008 @ 09:01:44

    If only everyone worked like that! Yes, I was the fastest checker, always. It would grate on me when mrs. perfect manicure would take five minutes to check out one person. aaack. As you speak of your reasoning, I remember my mom working PMs. It may just have been her reasoning too.

  3. s'mee
    Jul 19, 2008 @ 18:23:20

    I don’t get the idea of making your job last longer. We taught our kids the same. Now, all 5 of them, are their employers favourites because they have a “work ethic” -get it done, get it done right, never just do “busy work”. ugh.

  4. Annette
    Jul 23, 2008 @ 07:44:47

    This is brilliant. I like you already. (And thanks for dropping by my blog! I agree with your comment 100%.)

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