I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. I think that having one day off a week is not enough. If it really worked out that I only worked two sessions each day out of a morning, an afternoon and an evening, one day off a week would still not be enough. I’ve worked different shift patterns in my career, and the 0830-1700 Monday to Friday as well, but I’ve never spent 2 years working as hard as I do now. And I wasn’t particularly a slacker in my former life, although I did observe boundaries about going home and not working long hours.
I’ve just had six days off after Easter. I spent three of those in bed trying to get over lurgy, two running around in search of school uniform, children’s shoes, and doing domestic chores. Which leaves today, with not great weather, remains of lurgy, and the knowledge that I’m back on tomorrow for four services – but no preaching. My energy levels are not what they should be.
I have to find a better way to work and to relax, to get my energy levels up and to function. I have no desire to end up in a lunatic asylum or a nursing home. But the Church seems hellbent on tearing itself apart over who can and can’t be the best Christian leaders, without noticing this fundamental organisational flaw.
If I spent my days drifting gently about writing sermons and chatting to people in the street, then the one day off might work. If I could get a lot of my chores done during my working week, then that would make life easier. So I think I need some Easter Resolutions
1. Working from home means that keeping my home environment safe and clean is part of work. So do it and count it as work.
2. If I burn out that doesn’t help anyone. So take the recovery time I need. If necessary call it Quiet Time, Retreat Time, whatever makes it acceptable to the Church.
3. Keep the art of saying No. Some Curates have been discussing when it is acceptable to break into family holidays for pastoral reasons. I might swap a day off about if it doesn’t affect my family, but I wouldn’t break into a holiday. My family will remember if I let them down. Forever. A funeral family won’t be able to remember my name in a year’s time.
4. Remember that I am in charge of my working day. If I work myself to a frazzle, that is not the fault of my Training Incumbent (who does his best to ensure I lead a balanced life), or of the parish, or of anyone apart from me.
Can anyone think of any other strategies that lead to a better balance?