My first job was vacuuming our church building with my sisters on Saturdays. I was in 8th grade and my oldest sister would drive us up to the church building and we would all split off into our assigned areas to begin vacuuming. It is a large building, but there is no way it should have taken us as long as it did. With no parents or adults around, we goofed off... a LOT.
But one year I really found out what it was like to NOT be busy at work. Our new principal chose me and one other teacher to be "pull-out" teachers. All day long we were to pull small groups of children from their classrooms and work with them in a smaller setting on skills needed for them to pass the state test. Such a noble task. We couldn't start pulling students until about a month into school, however when they took their first practice test. Then we could look at the data and determine who needed the most help. So for a month (and throughout the year each time they were testing in classrooms) we had nothing to do. Or very little.
It was our little secret. We were still teachers, but we had no lesson plans, no papers to take home and grade, no team meetings, etc. We were free! My friend and I decided right then and there that no one needed to know how un-busy we were at certain times. Everywhere we went, we carried our clipboards. That makes you look like you are on your way to do Something Very Important. Also, at the end of the day we loaded our purses into our canvas every-teacher-must-carry-one bags and went off to our cars looking to all the world like we had a load of stuff to do when we got home. Just like everyone else.
Looking busy can be hard work! I always felt guilty as our church secretary when I was all caught up on things in my office and had a few minutes to e-mail or surf or pay bills for home. Not that our minister would have minded--but I was used to that deceiving "you must look busy at all times" mentality so I always had my mouse ready to click off of whatever page I was on in case someone walked into my office. It's not that I was doing anything wrong...I just learned that lesson very well at my other job.
Now that I'm home, if my husband comes home unexpectedly, I find myself jumping up. I might be reading a book or watching TV or reading blogs...but I feel like I must be busy or at least look busy...so I jump. It's almost an instinct reaction. I don't believe that my husband would in any way be upset that I was sitting down. And I know that all the rest of the day I have certainly been busy enough. But I feel the need to LOOK BUSY. I guess it's a holdover from 15+ years of working for a boss.
The Bible tells us that Jesus will come at a time that is unexpected. Matthew chapters 24 and 25 warns about being ready when the bridegroom comes.
"Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming." (Matt. 25:13)
And here is my question....Will you be ready, or only look ready?