by Mary Gulivindala
I have a situation in my domestic environment that’s making it difficult to focus on work. Perhaps you have been accused of being a workaholic, or perhaps you are the accuser. Whatever the case may be, this is a serious accusation.
I was married to a workaholic, but now we are divorced. My former husband worked all the time and was never home, so I definitely understand the loneliness of being in a relationship with a workaholic, but now my own friends as well as my current “insignificant other” are telling me that I have become a workaholic myself.
A workaholic is a person who compulsively works hard and long hours. I am getting harassed by my “insignificant other” that my work is a “joke,” that I’m constantly working and not “present.” But I have to make money.
Believe me, he doesn’t complain when I buy him new sneakers or put extra gas in the tank. I’m a comic, and he’s resentful. He’s resentful of the fact that I get to laugh all day. It’s my JOB.
What he doesn’t understand is that being a comic is HARD WORK. My job duties are extensive. They consist of not too serious research and development, exhaustive social media mastery and competent writing skills. My brain is my greatest enterprise, as is yours to you.
Let’s start with research and development. As in all professions, one has to learn one’s trade. It’s not my fault that I have to read laugh-out-loud books by people like David Sedaris, watch Colbert Nation nightly to keep relevant and informed both comedically and politically, and stay up late to study my fellow colleagues do stand-up on Comedy Central.
AND I’m a great mom. I never watch South Park until the kids are in bed. If you are not continually growing, keeping current and learning new skills to compete in today’s workforce, you are out, and there’s someone standing in line to take your job. Long hours are required.
Next is social networking. To be competitive in today’s industrial markets, social networking has become like a map is to a tourist in Tibet. Without it, you are lost. I spend hours “friending” and posting on Facebook, and Twitter is a huge resource for business.
I make lists of different markets to research funny. I have a list of comedians that I put a lot of time and effort into, a list of media and editors because you never know. I read the “tweets” of business people and life coaches because that gives me inspiration to start my day!
Then I post their tweets on my Facebook pages, which is linked to my twitter account and website; see, it’s hard work! Now the big daddy of them all is Linkedin. I have strategic objectives and goals that I must meet by week’s end, or I will be really angry with myself at my weekly staff meeting (with myself). Linkedin is for grown ups. The big time. The successful folks. I am in 50 groups! I make comments depending on my trending analysis reports. I’m new to Linkedin, but I feel my big break is coming, and it’s going to be from networking on that site. This takes time.
Finally, it’s time to write. I don’t know when, why or where inspiration will strike, but when that happens, stay away from me. If you are a writer, you can relate to this, and even if you are not, you can still relate because it applies to you in some way.
Writing is a craft, and my craft has a rhythm. When an idea comes to me, I have to purge it onto the page in one sitting. You have projects and reports that have deadlines. You don’t want to break your flow because that can mean three times the hours to complete.
I do have help in this department. It’s a member of my team called “spell check and grammar.”
The wretchedness our predecessors must have suffered with pencil, paper and dictionary is beyond my comprehension. I wonder how their significant (or insignificant) others dealt with that? It must have taken weeks just to write one essay.
My other main tool is the app (short for application). The most sacred tool this writer has is the dictionary- to-thesaurus app. I can find funnier words using it than the originals in my head, but it’s labor intensive. Back and forth, back and forth, minimize, maximize, but it is worth the effort. I would give up a limb for that app.
Most people endure long hours working and make sacrifices for their families. Workers commute on trains daily, and some don’t get home until their kids are asleep, so I don’t understand why I’m being called a workaholic.
I work from home, but I have a boardroom. It just happens to be my lounge chair outside, and I’m not thrilled about listening to comedy podcasts all the time, either. I miss my kids, too. I want to hear the pitter-patter of their stomping and fighting.
Workaholism is not the same as working hard. I renounce that painful label because I am not compulsive. I KNOW what I’m doing, and it’s now off to laugh; excuse me, I mean it’s off to work I go.
“Life coach” Mary Gulivindala is the founder of Blue Print Life & Wellness Coaching in Chestnut Hill. She also does stand-up comedy and sometimes even sit-down comedy.