Grab your lunch, go for a walk, build a life
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What am I working on?

Take a fucking vacation

I'm attempting reconciling and fixing my relationship with work. I don't mean my relationship to the work I do. I like my job a lot. I'm a high achiever. I think my work is important, and I work for an ethical company with intentional policies and culture. I dreamed of being a business woman as a child the way our culture tells little girls to plan weddings.

But America and other countries following our lead are beyond broken in our work. We're broken with our expectations of ourselves. We're broken with how we let corporations treat us. We're broken with the abuse we put on ourselves, expectations we set, and the behaviors we emulate for our coworkers and employees.

My industry is full of privilege. I can take a lunch without it being an indecent. I can take the morning off for a dentist appointment. I don't have to clock in. I even work remotely now, so there's no one to judge if I'm really working or just watching yet another episode of Grey's Anatomy.

Yet, why do I feel looming doom for the 10 minutes on a Wednesday morning I spent empty the dishwasher instead of working? My partner tells me that he missed lunch again. I tell a friend not to dive into a client's data until Monday morning. I feel guilty for closing Slack down at 5pm as I have to get ready for an evening event. It feels revolutionary to take work email off a phone, or delete the Facebook app. (85% of my Facebook usage is tied to my work.)

Today, I hosted a small game day at my home. A friend cancelled due to taking his cat to the vet. When asked why the weekend, he informed us that he actually liked his job and wasn't trying to get out of work like the rest of us. No other reason he made the appointment on a Saturday.

On Sunday at 12:22am Christmas Eve, an email popped into my inbox from a beloved entrepreneur asking about analytics. Unlike my friend and his cat, this person holds influence. Holds influence in this group emailed. Holds influence in the wider community who looks up to his work life and emulates it. A week or so later, someone responded to the email with “Apologies was OOO for the holidays.”


Apologies for what? Spending time with your family? Putting your work-related emails down? Taking time off? Not being there for a work-adjacent request on Christmas Eve? Or on the weekend? Taking your cat to the vet? Explaining the reason in minute details why you had to reschedule a meeting because your kid got sick, you ate bad sushi, the bus was late, or hell, you just couldn't decide what to wear.

People who brag about working all the time, or advise you to the same with great influence, those people are trying to kill you. They've bought into myths around work being everything. And when that work ends — and friends, the work will end with your lay off, firing, retiring, hospitalization, or dying — then where will you be? In a crisis or dead.

You can still be good at your job if you close the computer at 5pm. You can still do great work without email on your phone. Create yourself boundaries. It's okay to have interests outside work; ones you may even like more than the work you like too. Hold yourself accountable. Hold your friends accountable. Hold your coworkers accountable. In fields where we have privilege, we need to push forward and say, "Nope, this is my lunch. I'm hungry and going for a sandwich. This can wait." It's okay to take time off for your cat without explanation.

No one ever regrets not working more on their death bed. Let's not forget that our ancestors literally died so we could have 9-5 work days, minimum wage, and safety regulations. So take a fucking vacation. Take a walk. Enjoy your lunch. Make it normal.

Things I wrote recently

On my blog:

On Patreon:

Reviews on my comics blog:

Drain your brain with TV film

Made my first full list of 15 films I've watched this year that I rated more than 3 (out of 5) by end of February. I'm not a huge movie fan compared to TV, so usually it takes me much longer. Oh, and it will be interesting to see how it changes over the year.

15 films - Hunt for the Wilder People, Black Panther, Arrival, Tortilla Soup, What We Do in the Shadows, Zookeeper's Wife, I, Tonya, Fences, Front Cover, Molly's Game, For the Love of Spock, Brother Outsider, Mary and the Witche's Flower, I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore, and Don't Call Me Son

I adore Taika Waititi's movies and Black Panther was so good. It's amazing how fresh Marvel movies feel when they hire people of color to create their stories. Shuri is the best Disney princess.

Other things

[CORRECTION] My link to my review for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was broken. :(

[BOOST YOUR TO-READ LIST] In the wake of author Sherman Alexie being called out for sexual harassment, author Elissa Washuta built a list of Native American writers you should be reading in general and instead of Alexie.

Put some time off on your calendar now.


Erica McGillivray

Copyright © 2018 Erica McGillivray, All rights reserved.

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