Limits and the freedom they provide

There's something to be said about being "hourly". I'm not responsible for checking my email while away from work. I get an hour lunch, where I don't have anything to do except for eat lunch. I have a finite list of responsibilities, and if I attempt to go outside of that list I can be written up and dismissed. I am an at-will employee, meaning I can leave whenever I want, without a reason why. I work at an institution with very defined policies and practices which require people to be civil and protect me from harassment and discrimination.

I always thought that being hourly meant being in a low-end job. But in all reality I have a pretty cushy job that allows me to have responsibility but also a work-life balance. I can't be ordered to do something outside of the set parameters, for example I cannot paint while on the clock. I can't (or shouldn't) drive my car to do university business. And the institution where I work has an entire process for being "terminated". If I go on vacation my only obligation to my position is an out-of-office email reply, and to arrive back at work on the appropriate day. If I'm in a class or doing something with my family, I don't have to answer when someone from work calls (although there are a few people I'd answer for).  

I also have opportunities to grow. I go to professional development classes, I am also allowed to take a certain number of credit hours without being matriculated. Within the next year I can even begin looking for a different position if I so choose. Being hourly is not necessarily confining, which is how I used to see it, and sometimes still do, it's also liberating.

It reminds me of a lesson back in high school English class (thanks Mr. Blake): freedom is slavery, slavery is freedom.

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