Friday, June 13, 2014

Work vs. Working Conditions



As I prepare for the release of my July book, Dating a Single Dad, I find myself thinking a lot about my heroine. Brynn is a very family-oriented woman. She prefers to take temp/contract jobs rather than staying in one position, because this allows her the freedom to drop everything and go wherever her family needs her, whenever they call.

I like that about Brynn. Of course there were other reasons behind that decision, motives that she wasn't even aware of at the beginning of the book, but it was fun to write someone who had  that level of commitment, who was that aware that she valued the working conditions more than the job itself.

Three of my children are now legal adults, which means that three times now, we have done the "what do you want to do?" exploration. We visited schools and did tests and talked to educators, always focusing on what field the boys should go into, what areas interested them and felt like something they could work at happily for any number of years. And of course that's important. But I think we should also have spent more time considering what kind of work environment they might want to end up in. Did they want to be self-employed or part of a big company? Did they want to travel the world, or work from home? Did they want to work indoors or outdoors, in a team or independently, 9 to 5 or flexible hours?

For as much as it can be frustrating and nerve-wracking, I love being a writer. Do I love the actual process of writing? Mostly yes, though there are times … :-)  But just as important as the work itself, at least at this point in my life, is the working conditions. I'm my own boss (though that balance shifts when revisions roll around). I set my own hours. If my kid is sick or we have a snow day or someone has to see the dentist, I can work my schedule around it. I can volunteer in my kid's school library without needing anyone's permission but my own. And when the weather cooperates, I get to work here:

Yes, I do believe Brynn had a good grasp on her priorities when she chose to put a large emphasis on the working conditions. 

If you were designing your ideal working environment, what would it include?

5 comments:

Mary Preston said...

Flexibility for one - choose my own hours. To work from home would be ideal. Again with the flexibility. (I see a theme developing here.)

kris said...

LOL, Mary, I think that's a very popular theme indeed!

Kristina Mathews said...

My day job is at the elementary school where my kids went. They've moved on to High School and middle school.

I was a full-time teacher until I had my second child. I needed to let go of the classroom so I had something left for my own kids.

When my youngest was in fourth grade, I went back to work as a para-educator. I love having almost the same schedule (he gets out an hour earlier now) and the same days off. I still have time to write in the afternoons and evenings and I can get an amazing amount of editing done in the fifteen minutes after dropping them off and starting my morning yard duty.

I make a lot less money than I did as a teacher (less than the minimum wage in some cities like San Francisco and Seattle) but I don't have the pressures a teacher has. I get to work with kids, helping them learn and grow. I get to celebrate their success, redirect behavior when needed, and when I see a Kindergartner at Walmart, they act like I'm someone famous. I don't have to do report cards, so it's worth it.

And I have the summer off so I can go to RWA Nationals in San Antonio this year.

JB Lnn said...

Well, since I'm a writer and already have the flexibility thing, I'll say "lots of coffee" and a swing. Yes, I'd really like to have a swing...

kris said...

Kristina, I think you found a most excellent blend. Good for you for knowing what you needed and making it work.

JB, I confess, my swing is probably my favorite part of summer. I do love grabbing my alphasmart and camping out there ...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...