“We all have a certain measure of responsibility to those who have made it possible for us to take advantage of today’s opportunities”.
I’m not alone in taking on too much in 2017. There is a theme running through lots of #GLAMblogclub end of year reflections, from Annelie de Villier’s post talking about burn out and getting more balance, to Hugh Rundle’s post about (among other things) vocational calling.
The idea of professional vocation is an interesting and, as Hugh pointed out not unproblematic one. I entered the nursing profession on the heels of the nursing strikes of the 80s. A long fight for wages and professional recognition that pushed back at the socialised idea of nursing as vocation. Discussion of work that uses words like vocation and calling can invite a different expectation around pay and conditions. That we should perhaps be grateful and accept lower pay or poorer conditions or even work for free, for the privilege of doing what we love.
I see occasional references to being an archivist (or librarian etc) as a vocation and it concerns me somewhat. It is certainly blended as part of my identity but it doesn’t mean I’d do it for free. (Ok maybe I would. Its complicated). Being engaged in professional life outside of our day jobs often means committees, organising, attending workshops and conferences, reading, writing, engaging on social media, volunteering. Being politically engaged layers on another level of involvement. Perhaps the liminal spaces between these are what makes it hard to identify the boundaries between personal and professional life? It is certainly much harder to to balance ‘work’ and ‘life’ when there are no clear lines between the two.
As we continue the conversations about activism and archival practice, I’d suggest we need to parallel it with conversations about self care.
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
I’m on board the move to push back the cult of busyness. Every time I hear myself say how busy I am I roll my eyes at myself. If we know each other moderately well I’ll be asking what you are doing to make yourself less busy.
I wrote about my self care strategies in DeepSmile, I’m hoping to spruce this list up as 2018 goes along.
Here are a couple of my favourite self care resource;
Plan to Thrive
Self Care Strategies for Dismantling the Patriarchy
Read more about that Audre Lorde quote here; https://feministkilljoys.com/2014/08/25/selfcare-as-warfare/