Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What Do You Do All Day?

For 18 years I worked as a therapist/social worker, with some of the most difficult populations. Family therapy with Child Protection and Juvenile Justice cases. Inpatient treatment for kids with mental and behavior disorders. Inpatient drug rehab. Domestic violence shelters.

Now I am in the terrific position of no longer needing paid employment. This brings up a lot of ideas in people's heads.

The main idea that people have is that I either do nothing all day, or that I must be bored.

The second idea is that I did a good job snaring a man, because my husband pays the bills. This one is pretty offensive since it implies that I must be some kind of gold digging schemer with no real instrinsic worth other than pleasing a man. And we all know how THAT is done. Not to dog on myself or anything, but I doubt I'm that good. And arm candy I am not.

This weekend at a family gathering, the tired question came up again. "What do you do all day?" One relative thought that I spend all day exercising. Uh, no. I exercise 45 min to an hour, 5-6 days a week. That's it. I saw that another relative blogged about me (seriously, do you have nothing better to do than blog about what you think my life is like?)...he thinks that I knit all day and dream of vacationing in Hawaii.

Now it's true, I do knit and I do plan vacations. But it doesn't take all day. BTW I taught myself to knit and crochet all by myself, from books. Learning new things IS one of the things I do all day.

At parties, people love to ask "What do you do?". I have been struck by how people judge me now that I don't have a job...I get treated very differently now than when I had that nice job title that I gained from getting multiple college degrees.

I think a way better question than what I do all day is what I DON'T DO. That is much more interesting to me. More illustrative. So here goes:


1. I don't startle awake to a clock alarm
2. I don't have to rush to get ready in the morning, and I am never late
3. I don't eat in the car
4. I don't sit in traffic
5. I don't pay for parking
6. I don't have to kiss a boss' ass
7. I don't have to play office politics
8. I don't sit in staff meetings (and people think I'm bored AT HOME?! LOL)
9. I don't have to listen to office gossip
10. I don't skip lunch or eat at a desk
11. I don't eat fast food
12. I don't wear heels...ever
13. I don't wear pantyhose
14. I don't wear any business attire
15. Half the time I'm not wearing a bra either
16. I don't have to act nice to people I don't like
17. I don't do boring paperwork
18. I don't work overtime
19. I don't worry about being fired
20. I don't have to do some stupid procedure just because some clueless manager thinks I should
21. I don't have to cover for anyone else's shift
22. I don't have to request for time off and hope it gets approved
23. I don't have to miss important family events because of a job
24. I don't spend more time with coworkers than I do with loved ones
25. I don't work 12 hour days and rarely see my spouse
26. I don't work when I'm sick
27. Hell, I don't get sick as much as most people, because I don't go to an office with sick coworkers
28. I don't have performance reviews which are really popularity and kiss ass contests
29. I don't have to justify myself about anything
30. I don't drink caffeine all day...instead, I get enough sleep and rest
31. I don't know more about coworkers or clients' lives than I do about the person I live with
32. I never look at my husband and think I'm living with a stranger
33. I no longer drive down the highway thinking, "I could just keep driving and not return..."
34. I don't pick up fast food for my family's dinner
35. I don't have to come home and work a "second shift"
36. I don't get my identity from a job title
37. I don't have to try and get anyone to do anything
38. I don't get reprimanded
39. I don't reprimand anyone
40. I don't keep records of what I've done because I don't have to prove anything to anyone
41. I don't save emails from people to prove what conversations we've had
42. I don't have to pretend
43. I don't get sexually harrassed by coworkers or clients anymore
44. I don't get assaulted by clients anymore
45. I no longer have to actually run away from a client as fast as I can
46. I don't go to the homes of people who are threatening to murder someone anymore
48. I no longer have to have anyone involuntarily committed
49. I don't chart sessions anymore and that is GREAT
50. I don't have to listen to detailed stories of abuse and trauma anymore
51. I don't see people cry on a regular basis
52. I don't have to keep tissues at the ready
53. I don't get told by managers that 15 minutes is the maximum length of a therapy session
54. I don't have to chase down families who don't show up for their appointments, because of not getting paid if they don't show up; and they don't show up because they are court ordered and don't want to be there in the first place
55. I don't have to testify in court!
56. I don't have to have police protection to do certain parts of a job
57. I don't have to be careful of what jewelry and clothing I wear due to safety concerns (jewelry can be grabbed and pulled when you are assaulted, and certain outfits are not conducive to rolling around on the floor or running away, all of which I have done)
58. I no longer have to physically restrain anyone!
59. I don't have to go to in-service trainings on how to physically restrain someone
60. I don't work anywhere where co-workers work in pairs in order to prevent accusations of abuse
61. I don't live in a hotel room because of business travel
62. I don't spend the weekend doing laundry and chores
63. I don't wake up tired in the morning or wondering how I am going to do it all again
64. I don't rush to do anything
65. I don't get URLs blocked at work because people in jobs are surfing the Web instead of working...and you wonder what *I* do all day or if I'm bored?!

Definitely there are more things I don't do, but whew! 65 is enough for now. I have to get off of here and go make lunch, because one thing I do? I have lunch every single day with my best husband.