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Sunday, September 28, 2014

On Work and Priorities and Play

Jean Sexton muses:

It seems that everyone has "work to do." Note that "work" is not the same as a "job." Once upon a time I was asked, "What sort of work is appropriate for a librarian?" I answered, "Whatever needs to be done in the library." It was a small library and there were times when I pushed chairs under tables, shelved books, or made sure the books on the shelf were actually in order. None of those tasks required a master's degree, but they were ones that needed to be done. "Work" is something you feel must be done.

Apparently this applies to dogs as well. If they are not assigned "work," they will find work to do and it may not be appreciated by their humans. A friend had a dog which decided his "work" was to eat my friend's furniture. The dog was much happier when he relocated to the country where he guarded the house from anything walking by and demolished his toys (and no longer ate sofas).

Wolf has found himself work which is guarding ADB from passersby. We are working to encourage him to let us know by a quick bark. Then we can praise him and thank him for his diligence. He doesn't have to continue to alert us. Wolf's other work is much quieter. He patrols the building to see that everyone is where he or she belongs. If he senses the person is stressed, he demands to be petted. Everyone benefits.

My work has always seemed to make things be "right." As a cataloger, that meant the item had subjects to help people find it and a call number that was a good match. Now this covers proofreading and editing. Marketing seems to flow from it (if you have something good, people should know about it). It helps with getting ebooks up as it involves making a schedule of releases and then following up with marketing. It helps with customer service as I want things to be right between our fans and the company.

The problem is balancing all of those aspects. That is when I am glad that Steve Cole runs the company. He tells me what has priority and then I can focus on that. This week it was to really work on A Call to Arms: Star Fleet. That was harder for me to proofread because we want people who play ACTA to feel that this is merely a variation of the game they know and love. So you won't see rule numbers. The few chapters are short. Power exists, but you don't find yourself tracking it. Most of the effort seems to go into measuring movement and distance to target (oh, and making enemy ships get blown up). It is its own game, not "ADB re-imagines Star Fleet Battles."

My next assignment is the Hydran Master Starship Book. There I try to make sure that everything is kept uniform. I crosscheck rule numbers. I try to keep everything from being capitalized -- after all we write about seeing the frigate in the harbor, not the "Frigate." It promises to be a fun book and a great reference for the players.

Finally, part of our life must include play. The Steves enjoy teasing me. I think sometimes that they are trying to find out the limits of what I will believe. They tease me about TV show episodes I haven't seen yet (and I believed them when they told me the main character in Forever had come back in World War II as a soldier in four different nationalities). They play word games. They plot elaborate pranks (and they will improvise at the drop of a hat). In short, they behave as I think two elder brothers would act.

Here Wolf has a part as well. He throws himself into his own play so thoroughly joyfully that he makes us all laugh.  I also think he has given Steve Cole's health a boost. Steve walks him thrice a week after lunch. Steve's formerly broken leg doesn't pain him the way it did earlier. Steve's endurance has improved. And if the Wolf has any say in the matter, Steve will be with us a long, long time.

So my days at ADB include work and play, prioritized appropriately. I find I am comfortable there and happy. I wish you all happiness in your life and work.