Back to work

I officially return to work at The Baltimore Sun on Tuesday.

I’ve been away for nearly eight weeks. It’s the longest I’ve gone without working since my senior year of high school.

During those years, I was paid $6 an hour to mow grass and weed-whack 40-plus hours a week at a golf course. Usually under an unrelenting sun and often with dimpled white spheres hurtling at me from all sides.

In college, I made $5.25 an hour, 10 cents more than the federal minimum wage at the time, at a work-study job in the communications department. I also wrote articles for $50 a pop for the local newspaper for a couple of summers.

Before long, I was in the real world. Even when I was laid off, which has happened twice at two different employers, I wasn’t out of work for long, and the second time I had a part-time job to fill the gap.

I haven’t been good at living without work. My time management skills have deteriorated markedly, and I’ve procrastinated more than I have since college. And I wasn’t a big procrastinator in college.

I was talking to my oral surgeon, Dr. Smith, on Thursday, and mentioned to him that I am returning to the Sun next week. We agreed that work is an important element of life. Dr. Smith is in his 70s, yet he still practices his craft, and at a very high level. Not because he has to financially, I’m sure, but because he wants to. He loves what he does.

We all like to complain about our jobs; it’s part of human nature and helps us to cope. But the truth is that we are built to work. It gives us a sense of purpose and accomplishment, and without it we lose an essential part of who we are.

I’m looking forward to getting that part of me back starting in a few days, and I couldn’t ask for a better group of co-workers to help me.

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