Listen, in the interest of dismantling the exploitative neo-liberal culture of constant-work-for-insufficient-compensation, I want to quickly respond to something I heard several times at WisCon. Various people came up to me and said something about being impressed at how much I got done, and not being sure how I did it. I want to point out a few factors that play into that:
– massive economic privilege; both Kevin and I come from an upper-middle-class background, which facilitated our going to great colleges and graduating debt-free, which has absolutely affected our ability to now have a stable financial situation for many years, which saves us a lot of mental energy and time
– that stable financial situation lets us do things like outsource a weekly house-cleaner, and regular garden assistance, and summer camp for the kids (all of which give us more time to work, rest, rejuvenate, indulge hobbies)
– we are lucky that our jobs are flexible, in the sense that while they expect a good amount of work (I think we both put quite a bit more than 40 hours / week in, if you’re counting research / writing time), we can generally be home at 3:15 to meet the kids at the bus, and spend time helping them with homework and nurturing them; they’re generally doing well, and when they’re in trouble, we can notice and attempt to address issues quickly, which would be much harder if, say, we were coming home at 6 or 6:30 and swinging immediately into homework / dinner / bed. We do often put them to bed, and then go back to work for a few hours, but having the option of a split schedule like that is a gift.
– Kev’s commitment to aiming for 50% childcare and household maintenance is utterly crucial to my own career (and sanity)
– being poly happens to mean, in our case, that Jed’s financial privilege (as a single white man at a major tech company) sometimes buffers ours in a variety of helpful ways (such as passing along his old tech for us or the kids, extra meals outside or other presents) — poly could easily have gone a different way, with partners who needed our financial assistance, and sometimes has, but mostly, it’s been a financial cushion for us
– more I’m not thinking of!
I don’t mean to diminish the way I work. I do, actually, tend to get restive and cranky if I’m not doing something productive most of the time I’m awake, a personality trait that has developed over the last decade or so (and wasn’t really there in my 20s). One could argue that I work from sun-up to sun-down most days, and that certainly contributes to how much I get done. But I’m *able* to do that, and be healthy and happy while doing it, in large part because my workdays are pleasant and rewarding, and my family is generally happy and stable.
I have been broke and in bad debt, for long stretches of time, and I can tell you that I was far less productive during those times than when my basic financial situation was stable.
Which is a long way of coming around to saying that I am in strong favor of basic income, offered in concordance with universal health care, including mental health care, and I would like my government to tax me appropriately to pay for it. Everyone should have the options we are lucky enough to have.
And in the meantime, please be gentle with yourself, if your current economic, health, etc. situation means you can’t get as much done as you would like.