October 25, 2006

If I were in charge

Kathryn's post yesterday strikes pretty close to home for me, as I'd imagine it would for most people I know. Pretty much all of my friends (and most of my coworkers and classmates, for that matter) are overworked or overextended and underslept. I have a lot of thoughts as to the hows and whys of it (possible subject of a later post), but the bottom line is this:

Who decided adults didn't need naps? Why did this get taken away when we were kids?

In grade school, we got naps and recess. Middle school came, and we still got recess, but no naps. High School? Lunch, but no recess and certainly no naps (at least, no intentional naps, ccasional in-class dozing notwithstanding). College was a mixed bag; if you were lucky, you could build a schedule that either let you a) sleep in, or b) arrange some mid-day naptime to recharge before the afternoon. If you were me (or my engineering classmates), you got neither. What you did get was loads of homework and a bunch of all-nighters, neither of which sound like naptime. And now, as adults, we get progressively longer work-weeks, work to take home, responsibilities for house/home, relationships, grad school, taking some hobby/recreation/social time, and trying to get as close as possible to a full night's sleep in the middle of all of that (which usually results in a change to what 'full' means for most folks).

A thought experiment: by how much would Starbucks' stock drop if we got to a point in this country (or just this city) where the average adult was actually getting 8 hours of sleep nightly?

I, like a lot of people I'm sure, spend a fair amount of time considering How I'd Run Things. That was one of the most interesting things, to me, about the dot-com boom: a whole lot of people who would not necessarily have been in charge otherwise started companies. The intense demand for skilled employees created an environment where the non-financial benefits of employment became nearly as important as the salaries: company-sponsored gym memberships; on-site pool, foozeball, or ping-pong tables; employee lounges in the true 'lounge' sense of the word (bean bag chairs, video game consoles); I even read about some companies putting together massages or salsa classes for their people. Granted, the demise of that industry, and the general downturn in employment overall, has led to the disappearance of a lot of those things, but a few still remain (my company subsidizes gym membership now, which it didn't a few years ago).

Personally, I'd give most of that up for a half-hour nap in the middle of the day, grade-school-style, just to avoid that stretch from about 3:00 - 3:30pm where I feel like I'm back in my freshman Chemistry class early Thursday morning, just trying to keep the eyelids open.

I have long said that if I am ever in the position to do so, I will set aside a room in my office that will be devoted to naptime. La-Z-Boy recliners and egg timers, that sort of thing. Maybe a Sounds of Nature machine. One of those bubbling fountain things. Something.

The point is, I want my naptime back. And while we're at it, some cookies would be great as well.

It probably won't happen, but it sure would be nice, wouldn't it?


Kara said...

Couldn't agree more...I think it would help us ALL to nap for a half hour or so during the day.

Charlene said...

AMEN!!! ...and actually, my company IS one of those that offers a free gym membership and massages once a month...however, I'm suspicious that that's been taken away because there was no massage two weeks ago...I would love a nap right about now...

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