Josh Ginter writes one of my favorite sites right now: The Newsprint. The presentation is always beautiful, and his writing is always thoughtful. What a jerk.
He wrote a post a while back reflecting on his recent graduation from his masters program and and entry into the working world. This bit about time off and enjoying what you do is spot on:
So many people talk about work as the bane of life. We trudge through our 8 to 5 job so we can head home to our families. We value our weekends as though each week is a race to the finish line. And we better take our vacation because we deserve it.
Maybe we do deserve vacation time. Batteries need to be recharged to do our best work and vacation time is necessary from time to time.
But viewing time off as some sort of reward is a flawed paradigm. It certainly won’t make that 8 to 5 job any easier. If anything, it pushes us away from the moment and the job at hand. The allure of leisure time puts us in auto-pilot — unable to focus and find meaning in our work.
I’m very lucky to do what I do for a living. It’s something that is always interesting, always challenging, and despite the frequent nonsense and over-importance placed on the least important bits of the job, I really enjoy it.
In fact, it’s only been recently that I’ve learned to enjoy having time off from work. It was a hard earned lesson, involving the somewhat violent shift in work life balance that happens when you have small children at home.
It also reminds me of something that we all know yet mostly ignore: creativity requires a mind that is able to rest, process what’s already in it, and refuel with new input.
Grinding all of the time is only going to burn people out.