Monday, September 10, 2012

9-hour workdays = more time with the family

Confusing, right? Most full-time workdays are 8 hours. How in the world do you get more time with the family by spending an extra hour every day at work? We'll see in a bit. But now for something completely different!

Growing up I don't think I realized how much time and money my parents wasted acquiring and dealing with the junk in the house. Money went into buying junk instead of into family vacations. Time went into hunting for anything and everything instead of actually spending productive time with each other. Time went into listening to my parents complain about how they didn't have money, when I realize now that they had a very solid income.

I won't repeat this pattern when I have kids. Oh, I'm sure I'll make my own mistakes. But having time and money to spend on myself and my non-existent children matters to me. It's a large part of why I'm decluttering my living space.

But what about decluttering the rest of my life so that I can have more time and money for the things I really want to do? Well, I've decided to quit cello for a while, and to consider dropping it permanently. I was never very good and while I do enjoy playing a Messiah sing-along every other year it's the only time I play. Guitar and piano are what I'm really interested in. Not going to orchestra rehearsal every Wednesday night frees me up for pre-triathalon swimming training. Spending more time running, biking, and swimming was one of my life goals.

The question that looms in the future is, how do I get more time to spend with my children?  No, I don't have kids yet but we will soon enough. And this, folks, is why I'm going to be tired for the next couple months.

You see, where I work we have an unusual leave plan. You can work up to an extra hour every day and bank that extra hour to use as vacation time.

We know we want to take three big life-goal vacations between now and next January: one week in the Caribbean (wedding present we still haven't cashed in on from the MIL), two weeks at Glacier National Park, and three weeks in Australia.

Math majors beware, I'm going to try some arithmetic!

The three vacations are going to use up 29 days of vacation leave. The way the rules work is that I'm allowed to use batches of three days of banked leave at once. So with three vacations and three days of banked leave saved per vacation, I'll be able to avoid using 9 days of my vacation. Why? 

Because the more I read about life with a baby the more I realize that I'm going to really, really want those nine days when I suddenly find that half of my genetic material somehow got mixed up with the DNA of some guy I've known since 3rd grade. 

So for a while (24 work days until we go to the Caribbean to be exact) I'm going to be shorter on time and energy than usual. I'm complicating things now for the sake of making them easier later. 

I'm unfortunately also in the middle of writing a paper for publication, which is another way of saying a miserable, drawn-out, never-ending, self-deprecating way of justifying the fact that I kept my maiden name so I'd still be recognized in my field (ha!) meanwhile ensuring that I have very little free mental time and more anxiety than I deserve. But my boss wanted our group to get published and I volunteered, so I get what I asked for. So I will really be feeling tired and worn out. 

Will it be worth it?  It's nine measly days. Nine. I'm going to be tired for two months. Nine days / two months. Seems to be quite a difference there. 

Have you ever complicated things for a while to make your life simpler, easier, and more pleasant later?

And since it's a decluttering blog, I better get back to decluttering. 

The Reckoning

Item 139, a box of crayons I bought for my mother four years ago. 

She wanted to sketch the awesome view from my apartment when she visited so I bought her these. The sun rose. The sun set. The crayons stayed in the box. Now they're going into the school supplies donation box at work to help out poor kids. 

Money wasted on the crayons: $7.00
Total money wasted on junk so far: $1504.00


  1. Ohhh! I am jealous of your vacationing and banking ability!
    My spouse and I drove the Going-to-the-sun road in Glacier on the Labour Day weekend. Have fun! We're thinking that we'll do a road bike trip there next year... definitely in the East to West direction though. There were a lot of troopers going W to E that I was mentally cheering for, though.

    1. a bike trip sounds awesome! I'm quite jealous as we'll be on foot. Can't wait to see the GTTS road.

  2. I worked full-time while going to library school full-time and am hoping that the two years in hell will set me up for a better future. So far, the extra work experience seems to be playing in my favor, but I'm not going to say it was worth it until I get a job offer (hopefully soon!).

    I think you're definitely doing the right thing- short term sacrifice for a long term reward. I bet a 9 hour workday will begin to feel normal after awhile and won't be such a big deal.

    Good luck with your publication and I hope you have an amazing time on all your vacations!

    1. Yes, I'm starting to feel like I'm back in library school again. I thought I was done with that!

      Do let me know if there's anything I can help with. Nothing's come open where I work just yet but we may have more positions open soon. I'll let you know if I hear anything.

    2. Thanks for thinking of me! I just had a job interview that went well, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll get an offer.

  3. What, you aren't going to save those crayons for your unborn child?!?! ;)

    I totally get the reasoning to work more now to get the vacation days. Plus, you'd much rather work more while being pregnant rather than after a baby comes, especially if you breast feed (because once you get too full it hurts like a B!).

    Anyway, go have fun and live it up before you start any of this baby nonsense. I will be living vicariously through you!

    1. wow, you just read my mother's mind! creepy... ;o)

      Glad to hear that all of the moms I respect are saying that it's worth the time now. I'll be living vicariously through you pretty soon!

  4. Lots of people work ten hour days. I worked 60 hour weeks for six years. You do not get tired after the first week. Just do it. One benefit is that the traffic is less if you are travelling at a different time from everyone else. Then, lucky you, take three days at a time running into a weekend. Use those days to write papers or stock the freezer or even compete in an event.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement! You're right, I'll definitely get used to it. Hopefully sooner rather than later!

  5. I've worked several 14 hour days in a row over several months in a row. It sucks, but you can do it. So, banking the 9 days is absolutely the right choice. Ramping up is always harder than ramping down. So, enjoy your vacations, bust your ass at work and you will be oh so glad you have that extra time with your little one when he or she comes.

    1. okay, I have nothing to complain about. 14 hour days?! I'd fall over. I hope it's giving you something you want in the end :o)

  6. Personally, I'm tired just reading your post, but you can do it and even get used to it. Lots of people have worked extended work hours. I find it easier to adjust if you do it all the time. If you only did it once in awhile you'd be tired every time you did it.


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