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Work around the clock: Not quite as bad as it sounds, but still

Derek Thompson writes in The Atlantic:

I’ve noticed a new island of work at the end of the day. Sometime around 9 p.m., I’ll open my computer and see that I have about a dozen urgent-ish emails and Slack messages. So, while in front of the television or with a podcast playing in the background, I’ll spend a late-night hour or more replying to these messages, typing the same intro over and over: ‘Sorry for the delay …’ ‘Oops, I missed this …’ ‘Hey, just seeing that you …’

I can relate. In fact, I’ll probably be online like this tonight after F and C go to bed to catch up on work; I have an appointment this afternoon, so I’ll play catchup if needed later.

Most meetings, I believe, are useless time sucks spawned directly from Satan’s Outlook calendar. Fortunately, I am less prone to meetings than some of my colleagues, though I am stuck with my share. Others, unfortunately, aren’t so lucky:

‘People have 250 percent more meetings every day than they did before the pandemic,’ says Mary Czerwinski, the research manager of the Human Understanding and Empathy group at Microsoft. ‘That means everything else—like coding and email and writing—is being pushed later.’ Workday creep and meeting creep aren’t two separate trends; they’re the same trend.

(In other news, there’s a “Human Understanding and Empathy” group at Microsoft. Who knew?)

I’m grateful to have a job with this kind of flexibility. But I can’t help but feel somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of being “at work” around the clock.

Thank God I work late less than I used to, and only if it means I’m able to take care of important errands or spend time with family. But it requires a lot of restraint of my workaholic tendencies, which fortunately have dissipated with age and a growing sense of knowing better.