Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day is Feeling Appropriate This Year

According to the US Department of Labor, the Labor Day holiday is this:

Labor Day: How it Came About; What it Means Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.  

Well, after the last six or so weeks, I am truly feeling the meaning of the holiday this year. I have been working hard- far too hard.  So much has changed in my profession since I started this seven years ago.  When I got into the college bookstore business there was no online ordering and this year I would estimate that we pulled, pack and processed over 1600 orders.  When I started in this business, we did not have textbook rentals, this semester we had over 300 titles that were available to rent.  When I started in this business, there were no digital titles, this semester we had hundreds of titles available.   Each of these processes are a lot of additional work, and like every industry- with the recession means far less payroll.  In the last two years- after the initial "right sizing" (losing 3 full-timers) and the retirement of our store manager (with no replacement of hours- so that's 160 hours a week in total from when I came to this store) -I have lost an additional 15% of payroll.  The work cannot suffer- so my Assistant Manager and I have been working our tail feathers off for 6 weeks or so.

 I am flat out exhausted, just over a rather large flare and still feeling a small but persistant one with only two "good" days in between.  I have taken most of the last three days to rest, relax, and do nothing more than watch movies and tv shows, nap and snuggle with my family.  Essentially, I have been a bump on a log since my infusion Friday.

Today, we are going to go to the Zoo, we have a yearly membership and our zoo has a new baby polar bear that we have yet to see.  The heat has broken and it's a very cool 73 here today.  Perfect weather for a stroll around our little zoo to see the animals and shake off the cobwebs. Then when I get home I will take a nap and get some of my box of magazines gone through.  Hubby parboiled some country style ribs last night so we can toss them on the grill today along with packets of potatos, carrots and onions for dinner.  I am also stopping for parchment paper so I can make the Chex version of Rice Krispy Treats for my lunch box.

  It's time to stop burrowing in and start living again.  I gave my assistant manager Friday off and I am taking tomorrow.  I am going back to my Yoga class (THANK GOD because it helps so much) , going to sit in the therapy pool with the jets as long as I can, then run some errands and get some housework done.   I am still going to take it easy- but I am more than ready to get back to my routine.  Tomorrow, while I am in the lazing around phase I am going to figure out how to give myself time for Yoga, time to walk more, time to write, time to relax.  Basically, restructuring my routine to get all of the things I want done.  When I go back on Wednesday- I will need to look forward to the things we need to get done and how to integrate it into my new routine.

I hope you have a lovely holiday today- and rest as it is meant to be.


Anonymous said...

Jules, God bless you filling in all those lost hours of work!! I appreciate that technology hasn't really saved time at all - we just do everything physically and record it in the computer as well. I am in insurance and our office is "paperless," meaning we don't keep paper copies of anything. However, I've not noticed less paper coming across my desk since we went paperless.

mostly I wanted to speak to your hours - I did those types of hours BEFORE getting sick with RA. I swear that the stress of doing 60 hour weeks was a contributing factor to my RA. I'll never be able to work those hours anymore as the fatigue and the chemo brain prevents it. I truly try some balance which does help me keep the RA mostly in check.

I wish you a similar fate because those hours will kill you - even if it's only for a short time. I have the upmost respect for all you do and I especially hope you enjoyed your Labor Day.

deb aka murphthesurf said...

And happy Labor Day to you! Wow, you a putting in alot of hours. I am not sure about what has happened to the work place anymore as it seems that everyone is expected to put in ridiculous hours for the fear of a job loss. It is not right and by far the only one profiting are the owners of these companies. It is sad and I hope that the things take a turn and soon. Working those long hours is not only unhealthy for anyone but unfortunately it becomes an expectation or a standard. And I am sure you are a salaried employee. During my working days at one point I was putting in so many hours I was making like $4 per hour. Have you ever calculated your hourly rate? Might frighten you. Well...just hoping you start to get some strength back now that maybe you can work somewhat more normal hours.

Jules said...

Phat and Murf- in my pre-RA life (and the 2yrs following) I was going to school and working two full time jobs- plus being a Mom to a teenager and a wife. For the last 4 years it's been "just" this job. At times I wonder if I didn't do better when I was constantly on the go. Then again- I am now VERY selfish about my weekends. I only work when I have to (or when I have something non-strenuous to do like proctor the Praxis- it's fun and good money) because now I live near my folks and I can either spend my weekend at home or with them.

You are right- we (my Assistant and I ) are salaried, which means that what doesn't get done has to be completed by 1 or both of us when we are on a deadline. Courtesy of this recession, everywhere I know has cut back on payroll and added responsibilities. For me, it's not so much a fear of job loss (though that is always in the back of my mind when I know so many terrific folks who have been out of work for so long)it's the inability to leave the job undone. I cannot allow my store to essentially fail my customers. In this hyper competitive world- I don't want my customers to feel the way about my store that I feel about WalMart. It's a double edged sword. On the other hand, it's beginning to feel like too much, and I need to find a way to spread the work out and balance it so that the pressure is less. I think today will be a good day to really evaluate what worked, what can be done differently to streamline and how to accomplish it without prolonging the stress.

Thanks ladies- it's good to be reminded that I am not alone and that people understand.