CLOCKING OUT

I used to live by the clock. First, there was school — mine — to get to. Papers to write, deadlines to meet, exams to study for and hopefully, pass. Whoosh and I’m racing to get my son ready for school on time, ready for the school bus. Then me to the car for the long commute.

Watching the clock at work so I’d know when it was time to make that long drive back the other way.


White Rabbit: “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!”


After I no long had an office job, I nonetheless wore a watch for some years. It felt odd to not wear one. Then, one day, my watch-wearing-wrist developed an itchy rash. It turned out — no kidding — there’s such thing as an allergy to wrist watches. It comes from wearing a watch for a lot of years and one day, the skin on your wrist rebels. I like to think of it as The Universe sending a message.

I do not wear a watch, these days, but I don’t need one. These days, there is a clock everywhere. On the telephone, cable box, and every item in the kitchen. We have clocks in the car, on the walls, in the halls, in the malls.

Beeping, chirping, ticking and occasionally bonging or ringing, clocks speak to our obsession with time — and our need to be forever busy and in a hurry. Many people are, apparently, proud of how busy they are and look at you with pity because you aren’t. I think they’ve got it backwards.

I am not in a hurry. I am occasionally busy, but I get un-busy as soon as I can. Not living by the clock is a great gift. There is life after clocks and definitely, without a watch!

Don’t bother to come looking for me. I’ve clocked out.

23 thoughts on “CLOCKING OUT

  1. I am probably still a bit old fashioned, although there are time pieces everywhere I feel more secure with my wristwatch. Of course I also cbeck my mobile phone, have a quick glance at kitchen clock and in the evening have a digital clock on the TV. You would think at my age time should lose its importance, but it doesn’t. Even in history people looked at the sun for the time, it’s in our system.

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    • We have clocks. Every computer has a clock. We have two ovens and a microwave … all having clocks. There’s are clocks in the bedroom (two need batteries), and of course a kindle and a computer. Oh, and the telephones all have clocks, as do the cable boxes. So there are plenty of clocks. We know what time it is. We just don’t live on a deadline. That’s the real difference.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Next to staying up and getting up late, the demise of clock-watch watching is one of my favorite retirement perks.

        As a media maggot, I lived with seconds, minutes and ever breaking news and deadlines.

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  2. My Thoughts Precisely!

    There’s far too many things telling us of the passing of and precise indication of Time these days for my liking. Most of the time i can pretty much figure it out for myself, either through the position of the Sun or the growling in my tum! 😉

    love.

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  3. Love your article, clocking in, and out is one of the things I really “HATE” in my nursing career. I remember many evenings, and nights driving around the back of the building, to the closest time clock, running to the door with scanner/ID in hand, rushing over to the time clock to punch in 7-5 minutes before, but no later than 5 after to be considered “on-time” for the shift. Trying to find a place to park, traffic, and some of the parking locations at various jobs I had just made it much more difficult. I used to park across the street behind a Krauser’s store, we had a rented space there, store open 24 hours, not exactly safe for us, lots of loitering outside, and terrible conditions, no lighting behind building, people “lived” under the bridge that was next to parking lot, it was never shoveled during snow season either, and next to impossible to get across the streets to get to the loading dock, where nearest time clock was located, down two flights of stairs, no elevator….needless to say, I always felt like a real “loser” because it was difficult, and just made me feel so un-cared about.
    Nursing is unbelievably strict with time, coming and going, they don’t want to pay overtime either way, and you will be forewarned about staying after shift as well. It can become a negative aspect of your yearly review, and yet you are mandated/expected to stay over when others call out, or snow conditions cause “no shows”. It is the worst, and very demoralizing. Time is always the issue in nursing, I will say “I”, although I should say “we”, but can’t speak for others, I am constantly in high gear, rushing to get report, start your first medication pass, and complete blood sugar checks before meals, give before meal medications, and do whatever else is required as you try to complete the first med pass, telephone, and staff/visitor’s questions, new physician’s orders to be initiated, it’s all about the time. Needless to say, the everyday pace is hectic, high-stress, and although I do enjoy my work, certain aspects of it are basically draining the life out of me. The rush-rush atmosphere, and not getting all of the work done, not because of you being incompetent, it is impossible to complete the amount of work you’re responsible for in a certain amount of time.
    Ironic, my sister, (a nurse, as well) just called and told me her employer said that they would have a manager come to “do a intervention” if you are unable to complete your work in the shift, and teach you time management.
    It is so much more pleasant working salary, and not punching in, life is less stressful, come and go as you please, do your job, and don’t take advantage of a good thing, most recently i have been doing this, I am so appreciative, and can’t see myself ever being under the thumb of that clock again!

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    • it is a huge problem. Nurses do the real work in the hospitals. These days, with greatly reduced staff, a large portion of patient care gets handed to nurse practitioners or just orderlies who know nothing and frequently don’t any known language. I’ve been close to death from simple neglect. No one did anything bad. No one did anything at all. There’s often just one nurse in a unit at night — not even close to enough.

      The few really big hospitals in Boston pay better and treat their nurses well have a much bigger and better staff, but when you leave Boston for a suburb or rural area — it’s bad.

      This cutting back of personnel is going on in every business, but in nursing, it’s lethal. AND it’s stupid. The amount they save by not having enough people to do the job causes so many serious problems. You have my heartfelt sympathies.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Marilyn, so sorry about your experiences in those understaffed facilities, seems to be the norm in northern NJ. I’ve worked with 15, and up to 58 patients, as the only nurse, no other licensed staff, one RN. Sad situation.
        You are a top notch writer, I enjoy reading your articles, thank you for taking the time to comment/reply. I am not ready for retirement, my husband is retired, alarm clocks continue to go off, and I appreciate my weekends, I am off the clock from Friday evening, until Monday rolls around again, John says, “everyday is the same when you are retired” I am looking forward to that, although I don’t want to rush my retirement age.

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  4. We lose track of the days. It doesn’t really matter what day it is when you’re retired, so it’s an effort to stay in touch with the weekly calendar. I still have to feed dogs twice a day and feed myself and Tom at dinner, so I still have a watch and look at it regularly. So I find I’m still into what time of day it is, at least roughly. But I definitely get where you’re coming from!

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    • That’s pretty much us, too. I often know what day of the month it is because I post by the calendar, but am not sure what day of the week it is. We know what time it is and if we didn’t, the dogs would remind us. They have a very good schedule of when a treat is due. They know EXACTLY when dinner is supposed to be served. To the half minute!

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  5. I need one at work since there are no clocks on the salesfloor… but I don’t wear it on my wrist. I broke the bands off too many watches in my early days while unloading the trucks, so I found a creative way to make a cheap “pocket watch” by cutting the band off a $7 digital cheapie and attaching it to a piece of string and a badge clip to keep it inside my shirt pocket. I look quite quaint and old fashioned fishing my timepiece on a string out of my polo pocket to check the time every so often…

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    • I had a friend who kept a full size alarm clock in her pocket. My son keeps a cheapo watch in his pocket too for the same reason. He does a lot of physical work and they break otherwise. I think he also doesn’t LIKE them. Ironically, I really did like them, but eventually, they stopped liking me.

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  6. I am old fashioned, love watches, I wear one every day, I have several with changeable wrist bands. I love my 14 K gold, and sterling silver one the most, and my Movato watch especially. I love fashion/jewelry.
    I will always wear a watch…don’t use my phone for time, I have this love/hate relationship, more hate actually for my cell phone, and have “smart” phone, but I can’t see the print, and texting takes much too long, after I correct all the errors, I could have just called and talked for the amount of time it took to text a few words!

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    • I’m no texter either. I think my granddaughter’s generation grew special pointy fingers to do it faster. I’d much rather call … and NO ONE our age can actually read those little phones without special glasses. It isn’t a lack of tech knowledge. It’s that the phones are not a reasonable investment for people who don’t see well and especially, those of us who see poorly in the dark. The OTHER problem with those stupid phones is that they sound is so bad. The only thing we use it for is emergencies while ON the road. Otherwise? It stays off. In my bag. There if we need it.

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  7. I love this.. my life has changed in the last four years.. and I never noticed how the clock controls everything we do or should I say time.. anyway great story and lesson..

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