Tag Archives: juliet schor

Getting the Pay Raise You Deserve, Part III


I don’t work too hard. I work hard

enough, having joined the small but growing worldwide Church of Enough, not to be confused with the service club called Just Enough, whose border blurs with the Club of Just Barely Enough, which is too similar, frankly, to the Club of Not Really Enough, aligned of course with the also growing club of Not Nearly Enough who might as well admit they’re paying members of the Piss Poor In Nearly Every Measurable Way Society. No, we’re the Church of Enough–not to be confused either, please, with those in the mildly amiable but really too puffed up Club of More Than Enough, who won’t admit this publicly but they share office space with the growing Crystal Cathedral of Too Much and a splinter group, the Cult of Much Too Much, who are Calvinistic in believing anyone without the proud banner MUCH TOO MUCH (a hand-tatted silky thing they work extra hours to buy), anyone who sleeps eight hours in a row, anyone who cares to whisper, “balance,” anyone who stares at a cobalt bottle in the afternoon light, anyone who smiles just must by definition belong to what they see as the biggest club of all, Just Not Enough.

Moderation in most things
is our creed. If we met
we’d chant it but we don’t
have meetings. To qualify
for membership you must
come to us having attended

enough meetings already.

A humble enough start
has bloomed like rust
in the machine
of the rest of our lives.
When progress grinds
to an ugly steaming stop
in our backyards
we’ll be there to sing songs
around the dying fire.
We will have progressed far

I wrote this poem a very long time ago, maybe as many as 15 years ago, when I first read Juliet Schor’s The Overworked American. It became a signature piece for me at poetry readings for a while, although it still scares me to read it in public sometimes, since I assume someone is thinking and might say, “You could work a little harder, couldn’t you?”

But it’s an important end-piece for this particular series, and it’s important enough to me that my husband and I are going to be selling broadsides of it, with a gorgeous image he took of one of my cobalt blue bottles. (Contact me if you want one.)

As a friend of mine said, “It’s all about who’s in the lifeboat with us,” and as I added, “who’s down the hall in the nursing home.”

Are you with me? Want to come to my house when progress grinds to an ugly steaming stop? When that fire goes out, we’ll build a fire in our fire pit (which my husband and I made from the recycled drum of our front-loader washing machine) and drink some beers or possibly home-brewed hooch, which would both save us some cash and let me hark back to more of my Bullock heritage.

I’m saying it loud, saying it proud: Enough. Say it with me: Enough.