I just finished reading a book called Drive by Daniel Pink. It's a business book and was all kinds of #1 best-selling on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and plenty of other book lists. It has nothing to do with dogs, but it has everything to do with the way we think about work.
Let me summarize: in the beginning, humans were primarily concerned with survival. Once basic survival was assured, the focus then shifted to rewards to be gained from work (money, possessions, etc). As the modern world continues to evolve, there is a growing awareness (among people who study such things) of the importance of intrinsic motivation to happiness. According to this book, the three elements of motivation are autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
The book describes companies who are trying this new approach to work, with radical policies like 20% time (where 20% of employees' paid time can be used to work on anything they want) and Results Only Work Environments (where there are no hours, you can work any time and any way that you want to, as long as you are producing at a high level). Reading the book made me really think about that kind of work environment. I love my job, am passionate about every aspect of it, would rather be doing this than anything else in the world... but yet I still hate Monday mornings. Why is that? Because the way this job is (and 99% of all jobs, let's be clear, I am not complaining about Leader so much as I am complaining about the general structure of the workplace in America), I HAVE to come in at 7:30. Why?
Let me fantasize for a moment: Suppose I am assigned a string of eight dogs and told, "Here are your dogs; you have four months to get them ready for class. GO!" Okay. Now I have eight dogs sitting in the kennel. Say I come in Monday morning at 6:00 (not because I HAVE to, but because I WANT to). I give each of those dogs a lesson on property before I take my lunch break (because I have lots of energy in the morning; I don't NEED to take a break after six or seven dogs). Then I take an hour-long lunch. Or longer if I want to take a nap. Maybe I go for a run in the middle of the day because it's winter and cold and my lunch stretches out to two hours. When I'm ready, I get each of those dogs out again. My actual work day might be longer than it is now, but because I have control over when I do what, I am happy with it.
That would also allow me to take dogs out on the weekends if I wanted to. Say there's a show at Suburban Collections, like Outdoorama or something. Wouldn't that be a great place to go for crowd work? Or what if I wanted to take them out on night trips? What about Royal Oak on a summer night -- how awesome would that be? The possibilities are endless.
Oh, sure, there are complications too. Things like scheduling class, allotting the dog trucks, disrupting the kennel routine... but I think those could be worked out. It just became clear to me while reading Drive that the way the typical workplace is structured is certainly a limitation to maximum production, at least for me.
Forward! The Guide Dog Training Blog
Why Another Blog? Don't You Already Have One?
Yes, I DO already have one blog! But I can't stop thinking or writing about the ways dogs' and humans' lives are connected. It seemed to be a good idea to keep all those thoughts and writings in one place. Also, for myself I want a journal of what happens in my career and in my head, so I can go back and read it later.