It turns out it was just advertising.
November 9, 2012 12:26 PM   Subscribe

So was it worth it? Well of course not. It turns out it was just advertising. There was no higher calling. No ultimate prize. Just a lot of faded, yellowing newsprint, and old video cassettes in an obsolete format I can’t even play any more even if I was interested. Oh yes, and a lot of framed certificates and little gold statuettes. A shit-load of empty Prozac boxes, wine bottles, a lot of grey hair and a tumor of indeterminate dimensions.

"A Short Lesson in Perspective", written by New Zealand-based art director Linds Redding, after a career in advertising and a cancer diagnosis in late 2011. Initially posted to his blog, it was republished at the San Francisco Egotist, where Redding was an editorial contributor.

Redding died last month at aged 52 from inoperable esophageal cancer.
posted by 2bucksplus (46 comments total) 50 users marked this as a favorite
(if the primary link is slow the SF Egotist link might work better for you)
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:27 PM on November 9, 2012

I think his thoughts are pretty common among many career minded people - that we have mistaken our daily work with the work of our lives. That is, it's easy to lose touch with what really brings joy, happiness, and connection to our beings. I am certainly not saying our jobs are not important, I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction from my career. But I know the nugget of truth inside of me - that it's whom I love and spend my time with outside of work that gives my life the deepest meaning. He gives advice that we should heed more often.
posted by helmutdog at 12:38 PM on November 9, 2012 [9 favorites]

You can love your career and it can be interesting and fun, but if you wouldn't do it for free if you had all the money in the world, then I think it's your job and you shouldn't let your job define you.

The stuff that matters is friends and family and love and heartbreak and experiences.
posted by inturnaround at 12:41 PM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Nobody on their deathbed ever said, "I should have spent more time at work."
posted by Renoroc at 12:45 PM on November 9, 2012 [10 favorites]

See also: the Second Noble Truth.

I recently heard of a man who, despite his terminal cancer diagnosis, made it to a local zendo to sit zazen for a while, every, single, day. He said something to the effect that there was no way he'd rather spend his time at the end.

I hope Redding was able to enjoy some quiet moments before his death. Sounds like he was on the right track.
posted by Currer Belfry at 12:45 PM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

I used to be an aspiring 'creative' but my current job is anything but. Weirdly, this article makes me want to go make something, just for the sake of doing it. Sometimes I forget that just because I don't get paid (or graded, anymore) to make art, doesn't mean I shouldn't do it anyway.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:48 PM on November 9, 2012 [8 favorites]

Nobody on their deathbed ever said, "I should have spent more time at work."

Said once by a designer of comfortable deathbeds.
posted by found missing at 12:51 PM on November 9, 2012 [56 favorites]

Nice piece of writing. I'm sorry to hear he's passed on.

The thing is, I don't get how someone could feel creatively fulfilled from working in advertising. The endpoint to the creative process is a means to sell something with which you yourself have the most minimal of association.. I'm sorry he felt the way he felt, but I can't say I'm surprised. I'd feel pretty empty too if my job revolved around making someone else rich. The urge to create may be its own reward, but there are still results in the aftermath of your creation. Somewhere, someone will use it, feel from it, benefit from it, hate it, or love it. Nobody feels that way about comercials except the executives that want them made, and then only because the potential for a profit might nudge its way up a percentage point or two. Or perhaps a clever new way to reach that coveted demographic has been breached. I think he knew this, but he would have been far better served in a different line of work. He clearly had a real love of creating things. Sad to see such regret from a man that probably possessed real talents. Thanks for the read.
posted by Ephelump Jockey at 12:52 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Nobody on their deathbed ever said, "I should have spent more time at work."
posted by Renoroc

Eponysteri.... hang on -
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 12:54 PM on November 9, 2012 [15 favorites]

I envy anyone who can find fulfillment in their work, but since I seem to be congenitally unable to do so I do my best to a) seek it elsewhere, and b) get over my envy, because desire is suffering.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:56 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

What do you all make of this comment, and Reddings reply to it?
posted by memebake at 12:58 PM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Anyone remember a particular scene on Mad Men when Don's second wife, Megan, comes up with a good idea for a baked bean campaign that the baked bean company loves and hires SCDP to run with? Everybody's jubilant and an enthusiastic Peggy says to Megan, "This is as good this job gets!" and Megan gives her a polite smile that's half grimace, and then promptly quits her job at SCDP to pursue her aspirations to become an actress.

I'm with Megan. Advertising would never be for me. At the end of my work day I want to have done something more worthwhile and of more use to the world than persuading more people to buy baked beans.

Nobody on their deathbed ever said, "I should have spent more time at work."

I'd think relatively few people have, but surely there are some. If you felt you hadn't accomplished much in your life and/or if you were dying leaving your spouse and children nothing but debt because you were lazy and irresponsible all your life, then I suppose you'd feel you should have worked harder.
posted by orange swan at 1:01 PM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

And what's up with the last link's headline?
posted by Kiwi at 1:04 PM on November 9, 2012

> Megan gives her a polite smile that's half grimace, and then promptly quits her job at SCDP to pursue her aspirations to become an actress.

This is my version of that story.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:04 PM on November 9, 2012

What I want to know is how Linds got into my head and lived my life.
posted by lpsguy at 1:06 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Michael Caine swimming pool story comes to mind here.
posted by Artw at 1:06 PM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

I was thinking of The Hudsucker Proxy.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:16 PM on November 9, 2012

Nobody feels that way about commercials except the executives that want them made

Uhh, bullshit. Sorry. I've created ads that made others laugh, and some that made them cry. I've had a lot of fun doing it, at times. It can be incredibly fun and creative, and you often meet an amazing array of talent - writers, graphic artists, actors, cinematographers, musicians, just about every creative activity you could imagine. Don't project your own views of advertising on the entire universe. Yes, there's a large work component that is terrible, prosaic, boring, and crass. I can't think of any job without a negative component. But advertising can be creatively quite satisfying, too. And I know this feeling is shared, not only by many within the industry, by the general public as well. If people didn't gain some enjoyment/benefit from commercials, there would be no reason for commercials.

Family and friends are still better, though.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 1:17 PM on November 9, 2012 [20 favorites]

Having tried my hands at Jobs That Fulfilled Me And Were My Dream Ambition, way too much pressure there. Give me a gig I can stand that pays well and I'll do the fulfillment thing on my own time.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 1:17 PM on November 9, 2012 [10 favorites]

Nobody on their deathbed ever said, "I should have spent more time at work."

Of course not, because they'll be dead soon, and won't benefit from having money or interesting projects to work on.

However, I'm quite certain that many healthy people stuck in boring, dead-end jobs have looked back and said, "I should have spent more time at work."
posted by Afroblanco at 1:19 PM on November 9, 2012 [7 favorites]

As the philosopher Michael Scott once said, "They say on your deathbed you never wish you spent more time at the office. But I will. Gotta be a lot better than a deathbed. I actually don't understand deathbeds. Who would buy that?"
posted by Longtime Listener at 1:24 PM on November 9, 2012 [11 favorites]

helmutdog: He gives advice that we should heed more often.

It has been given over and over, and generally unheeded, for thousands of years.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:28 PM on November 9, 2012

There are industry specific factors here in that any good artist was trained to know why advertising sucks.

In mathematics, we fear industry jobs only because they use unsexy mathematics, but actually once we take those jobs we usually find their easy puzzle like nature rather pleasant. Yes, we were trained to plumb the depths of human understanding, but any industry's overly complicated analog of sudoku winds up less stressful actually.

In modern literature, one finds numerous good authors like George R.R. Martin who basically spent a decade writing silly screenplays first. It turns out that, if you want to write well, you must get your bad writing out of the way first.

In comparison, I've heard that corporate lawyers often regret their lives, probably more so than advertisers, well they studied justice and then pursued the opposite.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:39 PM on November 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

Is it even possible?


blink blink.
posted by roboton666 at 1:43 PM on November 9, 2012

If you want to hear some incredibly depressing stories of people trying to span commerce and creativity and just getting crushed for it again and again I thoroughly recommend "Marvel - The Untold Story".
posted by Artw at 1:46 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Red pill Blue pill. Getting caught up in the common experience we deem the "real world" is a hazard most of us face. Significance and purpose are internal states that are not usually found in the modern pursuit of things and the means to access them. Wealth and fame are vastly overrated responsibilities that can enslave the obsessed. Our shared reality we call the modern economic existence seems to be ill suited to harmonious living. Competition vs Cooperation. Man as an apex predator intolerant of community, Man as a herd animal that finds survival an experience best shared. Predators have their place in a balanced ecology but they are outliers and devoted to individual needs. But the gene pool is best protected by banding together. Just as a clan is stronger and more productive than the individual, so is the tribe over the clan. The fiefdom over the clan. The kingdom stronger than the fife. The federation over the kingdom. The nation over the federation. Ultimately the species is the best statement we can make to the universe. The adage "It is not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game is much more than a sports aphorism.
posted by pdxpogo at 1:48 PM on November 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

I do know of people who wish they had had more time for work. Leonardo's last words have been variously rendered, but were on the topic of his feeling that he had not accomplished enough in his work; Huey Long's last words are reported to have been "God, do not let me die; I have so much left to do."

I think getting to the end of your life feeling like you have unfinished professional business, but that your personal life has been lived to the fullest, seems appealing. To me, at least.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:50 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Looks like we killed the site - cached.
posted by ryanshepard at 1:52 PM on November 9, 2012

The post just above this one, the one about how global warming is probably going to kill off something like 90% of the planet within the next hundred years, makes this thread and worries about job satisfaction seem more than a little futile.
posted by orange swan at 2:00 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

> Leonardo's last words have been variously rendered, but were on the topic of his feeling that he had not accomplished enough in his work

I remember reading that about Miles Davis, too...sometimes he'd get depressed because he felt like he hadn't achieved as much, musically, as Mozart. Miles freakin' Davis!!!
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:00 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Even artists have to eat.

[I've got news for you all: there's never enough time.]

posted by mule98J at 2:02 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm kind of at a loss when I reflect on the implications of his observations.

If you're an artist, one of the keys to your fulfillment is being able to reach other people with your work, and that's dependent on a lot of practical factors. All those factors combined are often roughly equal to "success" by most people's definition.

If you're a writer, you want your work to get published and read. If you're a visual artist, you want your work to get seen, or published in print, or used in the making of a play or a movie. If you're a musician, you want gigs and once upon a time you'd want people to buy your records. If you don't have those things readymade, it's extremely difficult and draining to break through.

I suppose you can just make your stuff in your room and publish a blog which only your family and friends read. There's nothing "wrong" with that, per se, but I just don't think that the arts are always compatible with the idea of doing work only for your own satisfaction. It's one of those things like finding love, it requires that other people know you exist.

So if you're successful in advertising and you've got that audience for the ads you design/write, how can your hobbies and pet projects compete? You could have a masterpiece of a side project at home, but if you have to struggle just to get anyone to look at it, your day job starts to look a lot more emotionally rewarding. It seems only natural to put more energy into making your day job meaningful, than trying against all odds to get the infrastructure to make your personal work matter to people.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 2:02 PM on November 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

I always felt that there was creative fulfillment to be had in advertising. I think part of how it differs from other creative endeavors is that it requires a large team to pull it off. Being able to contribute my skills to that effort was personally very gratifying regardless of the end product. Working on solo projects it's often difficult to get any feedback at all. I hope, someday, to be able to work in that environment again.
posted by DaddyNewt at 2:09 PM on November 9, 2012

There isn't a word in that essay I'd disagree with.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:36 PM on November 9, 2012

Uhh, bullshit. Sorry. I've created ads that made others laugh, and some that made
them cry. I've had a lot of fun doing it, at times. It can be incredibly fun and
creative, and you often meet an amazing array of talent - writers, graphic artists,
actors, cinematographers, musicians, just about every creative activity you could
imagine. Don't project your own views of advertising on the entire universe.

Sorry if I offended. I wasn't trying to denegrate anyone's career choices. I'm just saying that the scope and intent of advertising is necessarily limited. Most educated people know exactly the purpose of an ad. When I said "care" I meant in a larger sense. I can laugh or otherwise react to an ad, but that is fleeting. And I don't think it's unfair to say that most people don't get all that tied up in ads. They're so omnipresent anymore that if we did, we'd wind up drooling zombies, eyes afixed to every billboard, banner, and comercial we encountered. I also never said anything about lack of talent in that industry, so please don't put words in my mouth. I was only saying that I understand how someone could wind up a little melancholy about their life's work's final purpose in the wild as it were. I think it's wonderful if a creative person can do what they love and feel good about it, no matter the industry they choose to practice within. The author of the piece just seemed pretty ambivalentabout where his life took him, and I was keying into that. I wasn't trying to project anything onto anyone and I have immense respect for any creative endeavor made with love and craft.
posted by Ephelump Jockey at 2:49 PM on November 9, 2012

Red pill and blue pill is a rich metaphor for this. Sorry, defenders and purveyors of advertising. You picked the blue pill, and you probably have a nicer house than I do, and I pity you.

My daughter and I recently had a joking conversation about putting scores in on-line games on tombstones. "Here lies L.R. … He reached level 44 in FarmVille." I think the author of the piece was hoping to save others the vertigo of seeing the end of the road just ahead and realizing they've given their one and only working lifetime to something that has roughly that level of real meaning.

Sure, you can find consolation in the team aspect of the work, and the innovations you came up with, and the victories and parties along the way. You could find that in building land mines too, or mercenary hedge fund trading, or digging holes and filling them in.

People settle sometimes to feed their families. But anyone who's genuinely good at advertising isn't exactly one of this world's least advantaged people, and could probably choose, at any time, to be that good at something that's worthwhile.
posted by namasaya at 2:52 PM on November 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

I know it's cool to hate on advertising -- and I personally believe that anyone whose career involves marketing to children deserves an unspeakably painful fate -- but I don't deny it can be a fulfilling path, if it's the sort of thing you enjoy. Hell, I'm a software engineer and I love my job, but I think most non-developers would rather gouge their eyes out with a tuning fork than spend their days writing code. I think a better way to phrase this is, "life's too short to stay with a job you hate".
posted by Afroblanco at 2:56 PM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

"In modern literature, one finds numerous good authors like George R.R. Martin who basically spent a decade writing silly screenplays first."

Wait, what? Per Wikipedia, Martin's screenwriting career didn't start until the 1980s, when his best fiction writing was already behind him.
posted by escabeche at 3:11 PM on November 9, 2012

Back in the 80s, I was in college; I was heading for a creative writing degree, and an almost-inevitable career in advertising.

Instead, I discovered drugs, and promptly dropped out.

Weirdly, I've never regretted that.
posted by MrVisible at 3:18 PM on November 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

I worked in advertising for a few years. I made more money than ever before or since, and the quality of life was absolutely hideous. I would take a car service home at 2 AM... but hey, the company paid for it! I would be trying desperately to keep the specs for half a dozen different products straight... but as long as I managed to do it, it showed how versatile and productive I was! When the company finally let me go in one of their spurts of downsizing (goddammit we lost the account!... fire a dozen artists, writers, and editors, stat!!), I was more relieved than at any time since I dropped out of grad school. I'd rather scrabble for dimes the rest of my life than go back to lavish paychecks and a sure ten years off my lifespan.
posted by languagehat at 4:28 PM on November 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

Pretty sure everything on Earth looks futile when you're falling into space. Still, great rant.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:03 PM on November 9, 2012

I love what I do, no doubt about it - I even do similar things in my own time. But "similar" does not equal "the same".

I will code until my eyes can read a 72pt font, my gnarled fingers can't press keys, and my lifetime of abusing mind-numbing drugs leaves me unable to follow even a simple algorithm. But I sure as hell wouldn't put up with inane requests to extract knowingly-bad data from the POS system so director-X can con the rest of the board into doing what he wants.

MrVisible : Instead, I discovered drugs, and promptly dropped out.

Odd... I found that experimenting with drugs gave me the perspective I needed to deal with a world that had little use for me except as a cog. Everything in nature counts as a mere cog, from the plankton whales eat to the whales themseves; from the apple trees eating dirt to the humans eating apples to the worms eating humans and back to the trees fed by worm shit. Think of the oldest / most famous / most brilliant / most memorable human ever - Da Vinci? Jesus? Sargon? Cheops? A mere 5k years ago, out of 200k our species has occupied this planet. Nothing any of us does will matter a few hundred years from now; Even a new "god", one in a few billion who permanently alters our entire species, we'll remember nothing but myths about in a few thousands years, and nothing at all in a few tens of thousands of years. And in a few billion years, even our planet itself will dissolve into the red giant our sun becomes.

So why fret over whether or not I get credit the credit "I deserve" for that big project? As long as I enjoy what I do (and get "enough" credit that I get paid), everything else amounts to a tiny smear on a white dwarf slowly cooling off in a dying universe. So cheer up! :D
posted by pla at 6:19 PM on November 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

I've been contemplating a career move, and I'm increasingly thinking that this will be the end of my era of magical places. I spent almost twenty years duplicating microfilm, filing microfilm, writing about microfilm, repairing machines that handled microfilm, examining microfilm to make sure it was of the highest quality available, and microfilm microfilm microfilm. Towards the end, it was the new digital form of the same, except that my microfilm will all survive the next several hundred years and my digital output is already boiling away in a cloud of mouldering binary signs and wonders.

I was so bored back then, and felt like a drone.

At the end of that life, I felt freed, and I started a business, failed in that endeavor, and was fortunate enough that ties I'd cultivated without knowing it at the time linked me into the next big thing, at the start of my life in magical places. I'd worked for the American Visionary Art Museum as an occasional performer, artist, and MC, and for my next act, I engineered and oversaw the construction of the next phase of the mirrored mosaic wall on the building in a community art project on a truly grand scale. When I wrapped that project up, on time and under budget, they liked me enough to bring me onboard to replace the retiring facility manager.

I could hardly believe my luck. The museum is magical. There's something about the place that just always felt right to me, like the home of some distant and impressive auntie caught halfway between brilliance and utter insanity. I disappeared into the walls there, and merged into the anarchic soul of the place, but at a cost.

The benefits were almost incomprehensible. I had moments I'm still processing, and the museum felt like my place, and was a pride and responsibility on the level of being the secret caretaker of the Ark of the Covenant. The thing with avocations, though—like wild, uncontrolled descents into mad love, you start to lose touch with the rest of the world.

My hours smeared and spread and multiplied. My projects grew and metastasized to match my capabilities until they were omnipresent. I spearheaded long term improvements and fixed problems that had existed since the museum was built back in the nineties. My heartbeat slowed to the pace of the slow turn and hiss and roar of the immense air handlers hidden away in the basement spaces, and when I was away, the place was always with me—a psychic link that sent worries shooting down the nerves and neurons.

A sudden rainstorm would sweep in over the mountain ridge on the increasingly rare times I managed to get out to my collapsing cabin to the west and I'd be in the yard, soaking, trying to get a signal, trying to get the head of security on the line to find out if the storm was hitting Baltimore and if my repair to the neverending leak over the library was holding. The phone rang incessantly, day and night, and even when it wasn't ringing, it hummed in my pocket like a phantom pain.

Something's wrong. I know it.

The museum wrung me out. During the strings of sixteen hour days around our outdoor film series, I had my first crippling health problem when a bout of bursitis reduced me to the pace and posture of a cartoon prospector, hobbling along behind a mule. In a job, you go home at the end of the day and lament your boring job—in an avocation, you are always working, always on call, always immersed.

I shifted to the next magical place shortly after I realized I would never have another moment to sit at home and just write and make music and go road farming with my friends. I put in my notice while wedged into the claustrophobia-inspiring slot of a display window at Bergdorf Goodman with a family of robots I'd married in a grand ceremony seven years prior, which seemed appropriate.

From there, I went on to run a giant clock tower built to advertise a tranquilizer-laden hangover cure a hundred years ago, and which my grandmother had pointed to as we stood outside the run-down grand movie theater where we'd just seen a blaxploitation double feature.

"Joe-B," my grandmother said, "There used to be a giant blue bottle up there, and that's where the bluebird of happiness lived."


Until my sojourn in the magical world, I wrote and performed at least two one man shows each year, telling tales with sound and music and a whole lot of talk. I wrote volumes, composed long, slow musical episodes, and went places and did things. It wasn't much, in the overall scheme of things, but it was the florid outcome of my Walter Mitty existence, in which I dealt with the humdrum by telling myself stories in my head, over and over, until I could tell them perfectly.

It has been seven years since I have had a proper relationship, and four since the last time I had a second date. I don't get to the movies, don't see my friends with any regularity, and when I get home, I have a bad habit of passing out, face down on the sofa, still in my backpack and with one shoe still on.

I have been off all week, using some of the monstrous backlog of vacation time I've banked for some mythical trip I will never take, and there has not been a sizable block of time when I wasn't concerned that the solenoid on the steam supply valve for my giant clock tower was sticking and overheating the upper floors and having a terrible impact on my heating budget. It's been all I can do to not drive to Baltimore to work on the valve, but I'm trying to be normal.

In all the years I had a dull and mostly pointless job, I daydreamed as hard as I could, and would arrive home cross and energized by the emptiness of it all. In a world governed by art and wonder and magical thinking, I have no time or energy for those things. I've written several books, which languish in perpetual mid-edit because I am too tired to do anything at all when I get home, and the weekends are made of compressed housework and the other maintenance job I hold as the building super in my apartment building.

When I have a free moment, I can climb to the very top of my tower and look out on the most amazing view possible of Baltimore, and yet, I daydream about a cubicle in some little industrial park somewhere and a job that starts promptly at eight and ends promptly at five. They say the grass is always greener on the other side, and maybe finding that perfect emptiness will just make me long for museums of concentrated crazy and tranquilizer clock towers, but I dunno.

I've got great qualifications, experience, and references to go into technical writing, but that's doing something tedious with something so dear and alive to me. I wrote my share of project plans, proposals, and documentation for proprietary data management systems in my day, but maybe the thing is to step around the lust for a life that's always bold and challenging and to be content to pay the bills while the better things brew in the daylight for the evenings that are solely my own time.

A long, long time ago, a song told me to switch off the mind and let the heart decide who I'm meant to be, and I may have take that advice too literally. I have a legacy of projects behind me that will be visible in the city long after I'm gone, but lately, I'd trade it all for a road trip to nowhere in particular, someone to curl up with on the couch, or the time and energy to finish editing a book I stopped writing seven years ago. Maybe it's a selfish thing, since I've made other peoples' lives better along the way, but...sigh.
posted by sonascope at 6:56 PM on November 9, 2012 [29 favorites]

Thank you for posting this. Bookmarked for future reference. What's interesting, and what seems to have not been apparent to Redding, is that none of this is specific to "creative" professions or advertising. I mean, most of us in professional careers were drawn there because we pursued something we at least liked, or had a talent for, or even loved. I think he's right, that the majority of us prioritize doing a good job over making money. At some point, we all have to come to grips with the capitalist forces that conspire to take advantage of the energy and emotional investment we put into our work. It would be much easier to find balance if all that was required was to determine the economic cost of spending more time with the family. It's much harder to determine the cost of being a failure in your chosen profession.

I have a job worthy of love. I have moments when I do love my job. Saving a life or delivering a baby is almost as good as it sounds. I just need to be doing my job about ten fewer hours a week. Like Redding, I absolutely despise the people that profit from me cutting corners or spending less time with my family. I too am pretty much coming to the conclusion that it's not worth it, not worth my kids watching me walk through the front door completely amped up and pour a tall drink just as they're going to bed. I recognize this, yet feel pretty much powerless to change course. Several times in my career I've "cut back" my hours and commitments, or been lured by promises of better working conditions, only to see my unaccounted-for after hours work expand to fill the void. I just don't get why it's so hard to set hard limits all the while seeing my complicity. I look at the rare person in my profession who seems to successfully spend less time at work and I see someone who is lazy, sloppy, and ineffective at their job. And that's the choice. More time as a father, husband, and human being or a wasted career.

I need someone else to be looking out for my well being, because I have been unable to make that choice on my own. I really hope it doesn't take a cancer diagnosis to work it out.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:53 AM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Countless late nights and weekends, holidays, birthdays, school recitals and anniversary dinners were willingly sacrificed at the altar of some intangible but infinitely worthy higher cause. It would all be worth it in the long run…

The ones who love us best are the ones we'll lay to rest /
And visit their graves on holidays at best /
The ones who love us least are the ones we'll die to please /
If it's any consolation, I don't begin to understand them.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:39 AM on November 12, 2012

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