top of page

Museum Practice: Why Do We Work So Much?

Anne-Lamott-Quote-Almost-everything-will-work-again-if-you-unplug.jpg

"the sacrifice measure." In Merritt's scenario, the young and presumably privileged, are willing to accept ridiculously low salaries simply to gain a toehold in the museum community. Although it's unspoken in Merritt's piece, we have to assume that along with the tiny salary comes a huge expectation in terms of workload. The combination of low wages and a ridiculous amount of work is not dissimilar to the Grimm's fairy story where the aspiring princess is told to empty a pond with a spoon full of holes. And as soon as a few agree to that scenario, it becomes increasingly difficult for others to say whoa, no way, I'd have more time off waiting tables and presumably no one would text me that the salt and pepper shakers needed refilling. What kind of culture does your museum or heritage organization have around work? Is there a sense that you're doing something noble? Is there life and death drama to every project? Is time managed sensibly? Or conversely, do you work in a place where deadlines are mutable, where few are held to account? Are you compensated adequately? Do you and your colleagues complain, but still work an extra day's worth each week? Social media sites are used by one third of the world's population. It's likely since you're reading this blog, that you scamper around the Internet with the best of them. If that's true and you aren't thinking about how Silicon Valley and social media changes your brain -- not to mention your workday -- then you have some more reading to do. You might want to start by listening to this.  In the meantime, if you are a museum leader do you model good work practice? Apart from dire events, do you unplug at home and on vacation? Do you talk about your workplace culture with your staff? Do you counsel staff who seem to spend countless hours working and question those who seem to need to work all the time? As museum leaders you don't need one more thing on your to-do lists, but workplace culture matters. If the work week extends from 40 hours to 60 because you can always get something done at midnight or 5:30 am are you really managing time well? Some advice:

  1. Tackle your own addictions first. Barring fire or flood, unplug at home and on the weekends.

  2. Try not being a museum leader part of every weekend. Be a partner, a parent, an athlete, a friend instead.

  3. Talk about your work culture in a generative way at work. Acknowledge the weak spots. Encourage behavioral change.

  4. Discuss how texts from home, Facebook and Twitter intrude on work as well.

  5. Talk about not taking work home. And if there's a reason for that---like too many interruptions at work--how can that be fixed?

  6. Support breaks, walks, the occasional yoga class. We all want happier, more productive workplaces. And working more isn't always the answer. Joan Baldwin

Comentarios


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Archive
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page