Saturday, October 19, 2013
A professional goes home at night.
Once, years ago, I had the chance to spend some time with Garry Marshall, the TV icon — creator of "Happy Days" and "The Odd Couple"— and movie director, most notably of "Pretty Woman."
He was visiting Northwestern University, his alma mater, and he met with students, as he liked to do. The kids were putting on the Waa-Mu Show, the school's musical and, trying to impress Marshall, told him how they had been up all night, working on the sets.
"If you were professionals," he told them, "you could go home at night."
That always stuck in my mind. Not that some evenings you don't have to work late. Not that, at times, work doesn't demand you be away from home—I once spent six weeks abroad for a book. But as a general rule, you do your work, you go home. That's what being a professional means. You do your work when you need to, then you stop working until it's time to work again.
We forget that with all our devices and constant, 24-hour on-line access. But if you don't pause from working, from time to time, then that will be all you do. Besides, your work suffers then, you burn out, and then you're no good anyway. You lose the thing you're trying to hold onto.
Photo: The Bar D Wranglers performing at the Bar D Chuckwagon in Durango, Colorado.