The Grind Should Not Be the Goal
The other day someone said in passing “Oh wow I worked 70 hours this week”.
And the thing is, if this was one or two weeks (even a month) out of the year- I would say fine. We all have our busy seasons.
But this isn’t just a busy season. It’s a busy life.
Lately I have been thinking a lot about how much we as theatre people work. We bounce from tech week to tech week and show to show. Often times we have to work multiple jobs at once in order to pay the rent and have food in the fridge (more on that another time).
And not only do we normalize "the grind", we celebrate it.
It becomes a competition of who has worked the most and slept the least, which takes me back to college when we all were pulling all nighters to finish our papers or study for exams.
Do you realize how backwards this thinking is?
I recently finished the book To Hell with the Hustle by Jefferson Bethke, which came at a perfect time for me as I started the new decade. While the book was a little to religious for me personally, some of the points really sat with me.
How many books haven't I read because I'm "to busy" to sit down for 30 minutes? What guy did I bail on because I am "always working"? What experiences did I miss out on because I think I "don't have enough time"?
The answer is to many, all of them, and quite a few.
But I'm tired of using the time excuse and I'm sure you are too.
If you want to read a book or go on a freaking date,
DO THE DAMN THING.
And I'm not saying to quit your job because we all have to eat and we all have to pay rent. All I'm saying is we have to prioritize our time.
From Bethke, "It's not about being selfish or weird or introverted. It's about creating a life centered around priorities we care about most, making sure they don't fall by the wayside."
>>>> I will be writing more about how to do this in a blog post to come. <<<<
And this is coming from a person who loves her work more than most things. You have to stop working and rest. Even if you don't want to read a book or go on a date, at least turn off your email after 10 PM.
In To Hell with the Hustle" Bethke points out, "We literally cannot escape someone trying to communicate with us." And while this is true, we can chose whether or not we respond. And I promise you, most of the time the response can wait.The hustle is slowly tearing us down physically, mentally and emotionally and we have to be aware of it if we want to keep our sanity.
My final point is we have to stop celebrating those who are extra busy. Celebrating bad behavior only encourages continued bad behavior. When someone tells you they haven't slept or they are on their 20th cup of coffee, see what you can do to help. Can you(without overburdening yourself) take some work off their plate? Bring them food? Or even just bring them a glass of water instead of more coffee?
I know the tendency in our industry is to only look out for ourselves, especially if we want to "get ahead". And call me crazy, but I believe that I can only be on the top of my game if my entire team is at the top of their game (ya know the old saying, you're only as strong as your weakest link). And while sure sometimes creative genius moments can come from exhaustion and a time crunch, the best work (and least mistakes) come from a community full of people who are taken care of.
We work from rest, not to get rest.
Much love always,