I just found this post fascinating:
“What I Learned in My 3 Days Offline” — Raptitude
If I were to spend 3 days offline, I would probably read more, sleep more, and (admittedly) interact with my kids more. I would probably do more physical work (organizing, housework). I would probably feel lonely without the text chains I frequently engage in, though I have never felt that time texting others — either individually or in small groups — is a bad thing for me, personally.
3 days off of email / electronic medical record wouldn’t fly on work days, obviously. But I guess actually doing the experiment would be worthwhile someday. I have spent a weekend offline before, but it’s been a while.
Some of you have posed the question in the comments — with all of this discussion of overwhelm, why don’t you work less?
It’s a reasonable question, but a complex one to answer.
First, I am having a hard time deciphering if my general feeling of blah is impacting my feelings about work, or whether it’s my feelings about work that are driving some of my blah-ness. Direction of causality unclear.
Second, deciding to work less would be an incredibly high impact decision for a) me and b) our family. I did not love being at 90% (with GME) in particular because I found that I’d end of working on days I had demarcated as ‘off’ and was resentful. This was no one’s fault, just the nature of a knowledge work job like that with a large network of people that depend on you.
I bring home ~40% of our family’s income (slightly higher with podcasting revenue). Absolutely we could live on one salary (either one, really)! But it would drastically change our ability to save, and would mean compromising on some of our goals, like wanting to save for college and taking fun family vacations and having more flexibility to perhaps both dial down (if we want to) in ~10-15ish years. I also don’t necessarily want to take on the housework that I currently am very privileged to have taken care of for me – although on some work days, the idea of prepping dinner + peacefully folding laundry sounds like heaven.
As for the blog/pod, I remarked to Laura recently that our recording sessions bring me a lot of joy. Doing my podcasts (and writing here) is just . . . one of the ways I get to have fun. So it’s hard for me to want to remove an activity like that.
Finally, there are many elements of work that are very rewarding. My colleagues are great and I value those relationships highly. I enjoy learning (though I miss going to conferences – hoping to do this again soon). Some patient interactions are wonderful and there are families I have gotten to know well — I love that. Working alongside an enthusiastic resident is really fun. On the GME side, I have loved watching the residents grow, and the ‘highs’ in GME (match days, seeing residents achieve their goals) really are just amazing. It’s a career I feel very lucky to have gotten into, and one that would be hard to get back (ie, not easy to just ‘take a break’ and return later).
So — probably more than the internet needs to know about why working less would be really complicated for me.