Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Turning it off

Eventually you'll run into a boss who is classified as both "Type A" and "workaholic." While they may be productive, the one problem they have is they simply don't understand the creative mind needs to do something mindless from time to time.

I've had a few bosses who thought everyone in the newsroom should work 24/7, who assumed people were wasting time if they had a simple conversation not related to the business. Some would probably consider lining up cots in the station so that people could live there like stranded airline travelers.

We once got a new News Director who fit the profile. On one occasion I was talking to the reporter at the next desk. We'd both gotten our stories in the can and we were chatting about the weekend. Phone rings. It's him.

"I don't pay you and her overtime to sit around talking," he snapped.

"You don't pay us overtime, period," I said. "We're both salaried." (Of course, I wouldn't have said this if I hadn't already given a two-week notice.)

While these people may have no lives, and wish to inflict their lack of said lives on everyone else, you need a life outside the station. And if you're a creative type, you need to turn it off when you go home. Yes, you always need to be vigilant and keep an eye out for a good story, but when you use your mind all day you have to go to the other end of the spectrum and do something mindless. The simpler, the better. We don't work on an assembly line; our jobs don't put us into the equivalent of highway hypnosis. That's why it's imperative to have simple, fun things to do when you're off the clock.

Find something, or several things, that can take your mind to another place. If you wanna do a jigsaw puzzle, great. Paint the house, do some gardening, play cards, shoot hoops, whatever. Just take some time to give your mind some time off.

And never skip a vacation. Take every single day to which you're entitled. Your body may not feel tired, but trust me, your mind (and your muse) needs a break.


No comments: