Sneaking out - Woodshop News

Sneaking out

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I mentioned last week I was thinking of playing hooky, and I thought I should elaborate. Yep, I play hooky occasionally. You should, too.

Good work ethics demand honesty and integrity, and that we work as hard and as well as we can. Unfortunately, good work ethics are blind to reality. The harder you work, and the more you do for your employer – especially if the employer is you – the better you can serve your employer by taking an unscheduled break.

Scheduled breaks like weekends and holidays are great, but don’t always go far enough when you consider that they’re frequently the only times we have to do chores and other work not related to our employers. They’re really not breaks at all, but more work, just of a different kind.

I do have some strict hooky rules. I’ve only been my own boss for the last seven years, but I’ve always looked at hooky days for previous formal employers the same way. That is, I’d never do it when things are extremely busy for my boss any more than I would for myself. I’d never do it if it meant my work would have to be shifted to somebody else, or if it meant that something important wouldn’t get done. And I never, ever did it frequently – maybe once a year or less.

Sure, you’re being slightly dishonest with your employer, and it doesn’t matter if you work in someone else’s shop or your own; sneaking out when you should be working is dishonest. But the results, I think, far outweigh what small dishonesty is involved in sneaking out to recharge on a beautiful spring day (or a winter day if you ski, or a summer day if you hike, etc.).

The fact is that if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else. If all work and no play make Jack a dull boy, Jack’s dull for everyone with whom he interacts. Being dull, in any sense of the word, leads to low productivity, carelessness, lack of attention to detail, and potential injury – all of these especially relevant for those of us working with precise measurements and dangerous tools.

I never did get that hooky day I talked about last week. That surprise find of the white oak lumber I needed sent me right back to the shop. But I need one badly, and I need it soon.

If you should call or email me in the near future and don’t get an immediate response, you’ll know what I’m doing.

A.J.

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