Saturday, April 9, 2011

Feeling useful

It’s been a while since I’ve done as much physical work as I did today and during the past two weeks. Our dining room renovations are finished for the most part (there are still some small jobs to do), so much of the physical work today involved hours of cleaning and vacuuming—floors, walls, furniture, books—anywhere where the fine white sand and dust from all the sanding and construction work had settled. As far as I can see, it seems to have settled everywhere! But today was amazingly effective, as was this past week. I have to emphasize that the efficiency is at home, not at work. That’s because I can plan the work at home as I like, no one is standing over me assessing my productivity and efficiency except me. I’m my own slave driver. I don’t need others to do that job. But the wonderful efficiency I experience at home is in stark contrast to the inefficiency I experience at present on a daily basis at work. How is it possible, is what I’m always asking myself? I’m still waiting for my budget problems to be corrected (going on two years now); I informed my superiors that my budgets were incorrect and they sent the message further and the mistake is still not corrected. I am having problems with one email account and don’t know who to talk to about having it fixed. I need to order supplies but the person who normally does that is on sick leave and has been for a while. The other day I went to make a telephone call out of Norway (work-related) and was interrupted by the operator who promptly told me that I needed permission from the accounting department and my superiors to make international calls. This was new to me and since I’m not sure who to talk to, it’s easier not to make any calls. The hospital is apparently in dire straits these days—no money---so they’re adopting desperate measures to reduce spending. All hiring has been stopped. It will be interesting though to see if the hospital will continue to hire administrators. It seems we cannot have too many of them and we cannot live without them. Here’s a joke (of my own creation)—how many administrators does it take to order, purchase and screw in a light bulb? At least six if not more—one has to look at the work order, another has to approve it, another has to order the bulb, another has to send the invoice to the accounting department, another has to pay the bill, and another has to file the paid invoice. And of course I forgot—the delivery department also has to get involved in order to deliver the bulb, and then someone has to install it.

I really enjoyed working hard and efficiently today. I felt useful—to my home, to myself, to my marriage, to my life and to my future. That is what I thrive on—feeling useful, feeling that the work I do is useful. Seeing the results, seeing the clean and organized home, seeing the finished renovations, the painted walls, the sanded and lacquered floors. 

I could start a consulting business to organize people’s homes. I think I would be good at it. I like the work—sorting through papers and files, categorizing things, seeing the neat results (literally). Hours pass in this way and it’s pleasant, at least to me. I know that a lot of people hate to clean and organize. But we grew up with the Catholic philosophy—“cleanliness is next to godliness”—it was talked about in school. Makes sense to me. It doesn’t mean that I have obsessive-compulsive disorder or that I have to clean on a daily basis. It’s enough to get the major stuff done and out of the way, and that can be a couple of times a year at most if it involves sorting and organizing. Getting things accomplished in this way clears the mental path for other projects on the waiting list. I hate procrastination above most things, and I knew too many procrastinators in my earlier years. It’s just to ignore them and keep on. I hope my work life goes back to being efficient. It was so efficient and streamlined for many years; then came the mergers and the efficiency and productivity got shot to hell. I hope the tide turns and we go back to a daily work life that makes sense and that makes me feel useful again. 

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