Thursday, July 10, 2014

Working yourself to death

I've known people who worked so hard at their jobs that they ended up with serious health problems;  but I've never personally encountered someone who literally worked him- or herself to death (although I've read about them).  Unfortunately, that does happen . . . and it leaves very sad and sore people behind.  The ABA Journal reports:

When American University law professor Andrew Taslitz died in February, his admirers praised his productivity, scholarship and devotion to work.

But his widow, Patty Sun, says his accomplishments came at a price.

. . .

“In the past four months I have kept seeing accolades to Andy's amazing productivity—the 100+ articles, the zillions of case books, etc., and I have always told people that yes, he led a normal life, yes, he got plenty of sleep and yes, he even took plenty of naps,” she wrote.

“But that's not really true. His life was not normal, at least not to me, and it certainly wasn't balanced.”

. . .

“In the entire time we were married we only took a two-week vacation once, and just about every vacation we did take was wrapped around one of his conferences or presentations. The furthest he went on each of his two sabbaticals was his front bedroom, because he spent every single day on his manuscripts. …

“So in the end how do I feel about his productivity? Yes, he enjoyed it, but he also killed himself trying not to disappoint people or to break deadlines.

“And as I sit here with the dogs on July 4th, I think was it really that important to add one more book review to his CV or to do one more tenure letter as a favor for someone he never met? I'm glad his peers all loved him for the reliable genius that he was, and I don't know how he feels wherever he is now, but I am very, very bitter.”

There's more at the link.

Sobering words, and sobering thoughts - for me as much as anyone else.  I'm trying very hard to write and publish four books this year, but it's a very big effort.  The writing's probably only a third to a half of the overall workload for each book.  There's also proofreading, editing, formatting, preparing a print and an e-book edition, uploading them to, CreateSpace and other vendors, publishing them, and dealing with post-publication issues.  All that's on top of writing several articles every day for this blog and a monthly column for Mad Genius Club (the next one comes out tomorrow morning), plus other related activities such as my recent presentations at LibertyCon.

I'd better make more time for Miss D. and our relationship together.  She's more important to me than any number of books . . . and I'd hate for her to remember me with resentment or bitterness when I'm no longer here.



Francis W. Porretto said...

How coincidental and timely.

Old NFO said...

Excellent points...

Heroditus Huxley said...

My husband loves your work (I haven't had time or freedom to read for the past several years), but yeah. There's a lot more work to writing a book than...writing the book. I'm happy to get two per year published, since I'm also a mom of two small children and a part-time college comp instructor.

Don't let it eat all of your time. Family is far more important. So is your general health and stress levels.