Originally written April 27th, 2007
Today I have to discuss time with my new underling. Mainly, that the working day is 9am-5pm. Therefore, she must be here by 9:30am or call me with a sufficient excuse saying that she is on her way. This will be the third time I speak with her, and she’s only been here two months.
I think I am a fair and nice boss. And I hate having to keep tabs on people. Becoming a boss is a strange thing. There is a huge ego boost, for one. But it’s hard being a boss, because I have the duty of both disciplining someone else and protecting them from the real money & power. I am the liaison. I became a boss just over a year into my first post-college job. I have to tell people older than me what to do. I am an EOC, and I only answer to the publisher.
The problem is that most people in my office work on their own schedules, so she sees everyone else come in at 10am or later, and so she assumes that she can vary her 8 hours and work 10-6, or something along the lines of everyone else. Which is still rather audacious considering this is her first job out of college and she’s only two months in.
I hate that I have to speak with her again. She’s efficient and she works hard. But if I walk over to her desk at 9:45, needing something, and she’s not there, we have a problem.
In the editor’s world, normal hours vary office to office. Often they are 10-6, sometimes even 11-7. For Editors-in-Chief, they are longer or shorter depending on outside office work. But EOCs also have seniority, the privilege of arriving when we damn well please and not leaving until the work is done. Now, the man who does the artwork for our mag works the hours of 8:30am-3:30pm. So I don’t care if a person on my team is staying here until 7 or 8pm. I need my entire team here when I’m here, when our artist is here.
Now, I am not the typical ”the world revolves around me” EOC. Many here are busy with their own lives and stroll in at whatever time suits their fancy. That is their MO, and that is fine. They do their jobs in their own hours. Time is not an issue with them & theirs, because by 11am, their workers are certainly here or else out for the day. (They also have different artists and production teams.)
But TIME is everything to me. I live a very structured life. I am here more or less at 9am every day, ready to work. I drink a coffee and an energy drink every morning at work. I go to the gym directly after work Monday-Thursday. Monday & Tuesday are cardio; Wednesday is weights; Thursday is usually cardio or a class. My roommates have me watching TV now, so it’s “A.I.” on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and “The Office” and ”Grey’s Anatomy” on Thursdays. Friday is my favorite day. On Friday, I arrive at the office at 9:30, I check all of my recreational email, and I mainly focus on creative projects at work. Whenever I have to take a day off for a doc appt or some other affair, I always try to make it a Friday. Fridays I have drinks with co-workers or friends after work and then meet up with my boyfriend, or I go to the Hamptons for the weekend (boyfriend). Fridays I also treat myself to lunch or dinner out and–my favorite–chocolate milk. I do my laundry on Thursdays—Friday if I don’t want to go out; Wednesday if I am going away for the weekend and stressed out. I self-tan on Tuesdays and Fridays. Same goes for bleaching my teeth. (All of this unnecessary detailing of my life is only to ennunciate my love of structure. It could go on forever, but I believe I’ve beat the dead horse.)
I have always been this way. I remember on Sundays as an adolescent watching “60 minutes” with my parents and then “Murder, She Wrote,” and then declaring that it was my bedtime. I knew if I didn’t go to bed then that I wouldn’t have as productive of a Monday as I would’ve liked.
Now some may say that I live a ridiculously rigid life. That I am not spontaneous, not fun. There is some truth in that. However, this overall structure provides merely comfort, security, and it’s often modified for the unexpected matters that arise. Additionally, I do whatever I feel inspired to do on Saturday and Sunday, even if that’s only sleeping (which lately, it often is).
I’ve learned that structure not only lends itself to productivity, but, for me at least, to creativity. It enables me to be actively creative and aware in everyday life. The background is always the same, always expected. There is no unnecessary chaos, so I look for novelty. I must create “new.”
Last weekend was the first warm weather weekend since I’ve moved, so I explored my neighborhood, finally settling on a grassy knoll in a small, nearby park. From that high point, down and in the distance, I could see downtown Jersey City to the right, Hoboken right in front, and New York City further to the front and left, the Hudson of course in between. It was glorious. I lay down under a dying cherry tree, admiring its last luscious pink blossoms and studying the intricate way the bare branches laced in the foreground of clear blue sky. The world was mine, or rather, my world was mine. This is the life. This is what I want to tell my entry-level girl: Follow my example, and you will own it; you will own your own life.
What I want to convey to my new hire is that if she lives by my example, she will do very well for herself. I have a great life; I really can’t complain.
She has the working hard part down. By following my lead, over time and with experience, she can be great. Not as great as me, but great nonetheless.