On the Clock

One change I’ve never articulated in my transition from factory work to the publishing world is the difference in clock skills.

In the factory, it was about making time go faster, looking forward to clocking out. The skill needed was to avoid thinking about how many hours lay ahead, but celebrating every minute passed. To avoid actually watching the clock. Each 15 minute break, and lunchtime, were milestones reached on the path to evening freedom. Mornings were about nothing but endurance. Afternoons were as well, but the finish line was in sight.

In publishing, work was generally too engaging to even think about the clock. Only the calendar, sometimes managing the tension of a deadline’s approach, but more often the exciting anticipation of a major step toward the project going public.

I have a deeper appreciation of the second for having spent a decade in the first. And paradoxically a deeper appreciation of the first for having spent three decades in the second.

It’s why I believe the term “job creators” is an ass backward view of the world. Employers are a dime a dozen. Labor and service are critical for maintaining a civilization. We rediscovered that during the first year of COVID, gave it lip service as “essential workers,” then surreptitiously pushed it backstage again.

Trailer Park of the Nouveau Riche

Am I the only one who finds it ironic that these displays of ostentatious wealth are identical mansions packed so tightly you can stand on your tower balcony and toss Grey Poupon to your neighbor on their tower balcony? Cookie cutter commodities.

Then again, I guess one black tuxedo is pretty much the same as any other. ¯\_(?)_/¯