Saturday, January 17, 2009


Sometimes, from my present vantage point, it is difficult to imagine how I coped with a job, a complex family --- immediate and extended, assignments for my church and community, and even writing a little bit. I managed my time so much better then, it seems to me now.

I remember the period of time when I worked as a manager in the Appeals Division at IRS, as an Associate Chief. The job wasn't particularly demanding relative to technical knowledge or anything like that, but I wanted to get a handle on doing employee evaluations as efficiently as I possibly could. After all, that was the primary responsibility, or so it seemed to me at the time.

Appeals didn't have its computer systems fully up and running then, so I think I developed something on my own computer, a laptop I brought from home. I wanted to make a database where I could post the data from each case evaluation I conducted relative to each employee I managed. That way when the annual valuation period came up, I could just import the individual case narratives to support my general narrative as to a particular critical element. Anyway, I worked on it and it all worked out just as I had imagined. It made me so much more effective and efficient.

They say there is a social speedup, that is, that people are working longer hours, that more and more women are likely to work outside of their homes, that middle-class families need more than one wage earner to keep their standard of living, that, in particular, the less advantaged families have to have more than one earner to scrape by. This situation requires people, I guess, to go faster doing what they have to do and what they must do to survive.

I can honestly say that I don't seem to have the stress or anxiety I had when I was trying to stretch my time so efficiently. On the other hand, there is a little bit of anxiety and stress when I think how inefficient I have become. Stress requires an individual to organize themselves better. Or, I suppose, to refuse the additional demands. Some people cope in harmful ways, doing drugs or alcohol. If I were as dependent upon cell phones as some people seem to be, perhaps I would resort to drugs or alcohol. (Not really, I don't think it's in my nature.) It is nice to be retired from my regular job, but at the same time know that life to be meaningful seems to require some stress and considerable effort.

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