Flexible Schedules

I missed posting yesterday for #blogjune. Reflecting on the reason for it made gave me an idea for today’s post: compared to my other jobs, my current one in an academic library has given me the most flexible schedule I’ve ever had. This week, I was able to quickly able to rearrange my work day so that I could leave early to take my son and three of his teammates to a soccer match on a Thursday evening about an hour’s north of the city where I live.

The game that the team had to play was originally scheduled for a weekend like all the other matches in the schedule; this one, though had been postponed, and the only day left for both teams to play it was on a weekday at 6 pm. To get my son and his teammates there on Thursday by 5 pm (for a required warm-up session), I had to get back home, change, pick up a Zipcar rental (as a Manhattan resident, I like most of my neighbors, don’t own a car), and leave with the boys from a central meeting spot for a drive in the middle of rush hour that Google Maps was telling me might be anywhere from 45-90 minutes.

This being summer at my college, my schedule was light enough that it didn’t take much (and the kindness of a colleague willing to switch with my for scheduled reference desk duties for the afternoon). Had this happened during the fall or spring semesters, the odds would have increased that my schedule on a Thursday would have included a meeting or two or a workshop for class or maybe even my own credit course that I teach every third semester. Luckily, summer is much quieter, and I was able to take the afternoon off to handle my carpooling duties (and serve as per usual as the team’s unofficial videographer).

Looking back to my previous career in book publishing (1988-1997) and a short stint doing development work for a major non-profit (1997-1998), I realize those jobs never had the kind of flexible schedules that I’ve enjoyed all these years as a librarian at Baruch College. Those jobs were high stress, involved an onslaught of work, and were stingy about vacation and personal days. I can’t imagine what my adult life now as a parent of two boys (one in high school and one in college) if I was still working the kind of hours I had in my previous jobs. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to rearrange my meetings and obligations as easily as I did this week at the library, and for that, I am very grateful.