SCHEDULING — THE ART; “AS MY DAUGHTER YOU MUST OBEY…”

There are many milestones in life.

Birth.

Death.

And all of the stuff in between.

Like smiling irrespective of having gas or something more. Talking. Walking the first half-step. Eating something solid. Separating from a parent on the first day of day-care, nursery school (sorry; showing my age) or kindergarten. Riding a bike and then knowing you can do it without help.

Learning to dive. Surviving a punch in the nose either literally or figuratively or both. Puberty. Braces. Mono. “Mn-accidents.” First part-time job. Prom. High school graduation. College acceptance. College move-in day. College romance. College graduation. Real job search. Real job offer. Acceptance of real job offer.

FIRST DAY OF REAL JOB!!!

Now that’s serious.

God bless my son and daughter. Two more different human beings with the same blood do not walk the planet.

Trust me.

When my son went to work on the first day of his real job surely there was a bit of apprehension. His stomach was undoubtedly tied in a knot or two. Leading up to that day he probably thought about it a little. Or perhaps a bit more than that.

Harrowing I suppose.

After all, joining the labor force full-time not only is a harbinger of things to come — like the ageing phenomenon for instance — but it closes the book with an unforgiving thwack on being a kid.

No more can you act irresponsibly child-like and get away with it.

Just as there were “consequences” then, there are consequences as a working adult.

Poor performance or attitude in the workplace is usually met with sometimes stern admonition. Repeated transgressions can lead to a sullied reputation and then the door.

Harsh realities.

Let’s just say that adulthood and all that goes with it can be a touch less forgiving than the stages of life which precede it.

But there are benefits too.

You are the master of your destiny. You make the decisions. You are in charge, bosses and others notwithstanding. You earn money.

Then you make money.

If you’re any good at what you do, after a while you may even accumulate some money and at times feel like you’re printing it.

With that comes the long-awaited privilege of spending money.

House. Car. Clothing. Entertainment. Untold material things.

An island.

So you are afforded some adult freedoms which can never be confused with the appanage bestowed upon a child or children.

These are some of the rewards of work, the fruits of labor such as they are.

Suffice to say that my son seemingly felt less angst (less visible angst?) transitioning to the workaday-world than I believe my daughter is enduring.

To that point: they are different people; no right way, no wrong way, just different.

My daughter has just begun her first real job.

Although not her top choice in terms of the function of actual work being done — related to her chosen field but not a perfect fit — she figured with acuity that, at the very least, the experience would be worth it and ultimately good for her.

Upon accepting the position, she learned that she would start roughly 30–40 days later.

For some, that short stay of execution would be considered a blessing. And, being a fun-loving sort she largely enjoyed that time…when she wasn’t torturing herself.

Of course each person’s definition of torture is uniquely their own.

For my daughter this meant thinking about the upcoming milestone event a little bit every day, but incrementally more as the time drew closer, building to a roaring crescendo as day one approached.

The best thing that happened to her in this scenario is that day one finally did arrive thank God. No more thinking. No more agonizing.

Get up. Show up. Be the best version of yourself.

Now that this minefield has been successfully navigated, acclimation to the new schedule itself must be addressed.

This issue is thorny; it’s like a cold slap in the face actually.

No timetable or scheme to which one has adhered before even vaguely resembles the havoc wreaked upon life by the vaunted work schedule.

What time do I have to be there? How much time do I need to get ready? What time must I get up? What time should I go to bed? Do I stay late if my work’s not done? When will I have time for exercise? Shopping? Buying groceries? Hanging with my friends? Reading a book? Watching a movie?

It’s daunting…until it’s not.

And therein lies the point.

One can get used to anything.

Sure it takes time and effort to adjust but it happens. After a few weeks on the job, the art of scheduling becomes a reflex. It becomes second-nature.

Adaptability allows for this and the passage of time ensures it. A bit grizzly at the start maybe, but the evolution becomes more even and polished by the day.

As it happens there is time for everything. Some prioritizing may be in order but that’s nothing new. All of us have been prioritizing since the beginning.

So to my daughter — and to my son — I say, let life happen and enjoy each day and those around you, given a milestone event or the mundane.

Get into it. Engage. Be happy. Try hard. Be kind. Be respectful.

Be yourselves.

And take heed: work is but one part of your life.

Or it should be.

[Editor’s Note: This piece was written by Mr. Kaplan in September 2016.]

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