About a month after I started at the nonprofit, one of my managers commented on the difference in work load and environment I must be experiencing--all the late nights and weekends, the quick-turnaround demand for meetings, calls, event planning and policy analysis. "You don't get to go home at 3 o'clock when you work here, or take summers off," he remarked. "The work is non-stop. Quite a change for you."
The truth of it? Responsibilities and accountability at the non-profit were much lighter, urgency greatly diminished. Perks (an hour lunch, unlimited bathroom breaks, flexibility to schedule a dentist appointment, secretarial support) felt downright luxurious. I had trouble adjusting to long periods of discretionary time, alone in my cubicle. Yes, there was always work to do. But there was enough time to think, to read, to prepare, to edit, to reflect--and to talk to colleagues.