Somebody Else's Clock --- How Our Jobs
Destroy Our Body's Clocks

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By Dede Howard

Wake up! It's 6AM and like so many other Americans, a
screaming alarm is the first sound you hear each day.
Americans are slaves to the clock. And we are paying for it.
Americans, according to a new sleep study, are chronically
and dangerously sleep-deprived. 29% of us fall asleep at
work. But a brave few of us are choosing a different path.

I count myself among the "free and the brave".  I  own
myself. At least, I do now.

I have owned myself --and my body clock--for 10 years. It
was 10 years ago that I walked out  of the last office
building I worked in. I resigned my job.  I remember the
feeling as I left the shiny 25 story mirrored building, the
building with  the office on the 9th floor with my name
written on a silver plate to the top right outside the door.
The office with the door that didn't have any real privacy
because it was flanked on either side by two door-length
panes. The door with the panes that let my boss--the
Department Head--peek inside to see what I was doing.

That used to be me, I thought. Why had I hated it so? It
paid well, afforded me things, gave me a title others
respected. Why had O loathed it so I grew mournful on
Sunday dreading the subway ride in on Monday?

What did I mourn so on Sundays before those Mondays?

I knew. I mourned
me. I mourned the me that the office
killed every Monday. I mourned the woman who had to
work inside on a sunny day. I mourned the lost days. I
mourned the woman who only used one-tenth
(one-one-hundredth) of her enthusiasm in the job
because, as my Department Head told me once, "Dede just
give them what they want".  

So, I gave them what they wanted. They liked the things I
gave them so well that they gave me money. Lots of it. But
I also gave them something that I didn't want to give them.
I gave them all my time. I gave them my years.

I gave them my waking up time.  From too long ago to
remember till the day I left that office building, my every  
waking moment was scheduled. A clock sat beside my bed.
The clock that rang when I had to get up to get to the train
on time to get to the office on time to seem like I wanted to
be there early.  
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