Friday, July 18, 2008

It's Enough To Drive You Crazy, If You Let It

"Love and work... work and love, that's all there is." That's what Freud said. He forgot beauty, and hope, but he had a point - most people preoccupy themselves with the first two.

Freud, however, was a psychoanalyst in private practice, and his idea of work was probably different from mine. Here's what I do all day: I have clients. I have staff. I frequently do something creative; occasionally I do something that might seem glamorous. I spend a lot of time looking for new clients.

Not so bad, though currently I'm short-staffed and have more clients than ever before, and am feeling stretched very thin. I'm working late, getting in early, and occasionally waking up in the middle of the night remembering something I forgot to do that day.

For most of my working life I was the client, which I liked better - after all, the real problem with clients is that you have them, and thus they have you right where they want you. This is undoubtedly why doctors try to impose a sense of reverence on their patients (so they can pretend they're not in a service business), which I tolerate right up until one calls me by my first name while introducing himself as "Dr. ____." (My response? I find a way to address him as "Bob.") I've dated enough physicians to have lost any awe for the profession, and that peek under the scrubs may explain the appeal of Grey's Anatomy and its ilk.

I prefer the veneration that attends a choicely worded pronouncement, which doctors certainly enjoy (cf. House M.D.) and which people in my line of work often get to savor when we're good at what we do. However, I was a magazine editor for a long time, and nothing beats defining a trend, then announcing it, as in this delightful number sung by Kay Thompson (author of Eloise and thus no stranger to pronouncements) in Funny Face:

(Post title from Dolly Parton's theme song for 9 to 5.)

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