Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

Whipping Myself With the Protestant Gene


I’ve got a lot on my plate right now. Today alone I have had two deadlines to meet, a NaBloBlastedMo post to write, a birthday lunch to plan for and cook, all amidst my usual daily tasks of delivering, collecting and shepherding my clan. In between I managed to fit in an hour-long walk and a visit to a friend for tea. The rest of the week, next week and forevermore contain a stream of deadlines like a vapour trail I’ve not yet created. The Season, a six-month period which contains all our birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, lantern festivals, Easters, has started. And I actually imagined I would manage NaNoWriMo!

Am I addicted to stress? If I removed my work from the equation, which I could do seeing I’m freelance and not beholden to anyone, I would have time for creative writing, for pinning down that hovering novel and for meditative yoga practice instead of a few slapdash sun salutations of a morning. And yet right now, I can’t imagine my life without the work. The money’s nice, but it’s more about the work, the taking on and doing of work, that pleases me. I like the satisfaction of handing in a job well done, the religious meeting of deadlines, and knowing that people find me reliable and come back to me with more work.

Clearly, I’ve caught the Protestant Work Ethic really badly. Anyone got a cure?


Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

16 thoughts on “Whipping Myself With the Protestant Gene

  1. Sorry, no cure. But perhaps we could start Protestant Work Ethic Anonymous.

  2. make that protestant ethic anonymous and i’ll join.

  3. I don’t think it’s a problem though, Charlotte, since you clearly derive a sick pleasure from the work. 🙂

    No cure required.

  4. I have a cure for you. In future only work for clients who point out errors in order to quibble over the bill, when you’ve worked flat out for them….sorry, feeling just a tad bitter over one such tonight!

  5. Just make sure you also get busy at having a good time when the time allows. Otherwise you’ll be like the two Puritans who meet on a sunny day.

    Fine weather, isn’t it?

    Aye, but we’ll pay for it.

  6. “Ain’t no doubt about it, she’s addicted to stress!” Mind you, I think a protestant must have sneaked over the fence in my family at some point or other.

  7. I’m envioius. I’m only just starting out in freelance (sending my first query this week — eek!) and so I can only hope that I have deadlines besides the NaBlo and child-and-house-related duties to fulfil and flog my work ethic with. And I’m not even Protestant!

    Pass me the wine…

  8. Noble Savage has the right idea. As long as your ending your days cuddling with a loved one and a glass of wine…all is good.

  9. I’ve got a sure cure…go to work for the government. 😀

  10. No, unfortunately. I wish I did. I never stop these days, then I waste my time by berating myself for being lazy!! I think the Protestant Work Ethic runs in my family, to the extent where it’s not even healthy. And we’re Catholics!

  11. If you find a cure, please post it so I can take the cure. Addicted to work indeed.

  12. If I can’t be a good example, I’ll have to be a terrible warning – I loved all that rushing about, give me another deadline oh and pass me my child’s homework while you’re at it thing, until I was strung up with committments as far as the eye could see with no time for myself at all. And then I got viral pneumonia and ME. So by all means love it, but TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST. Do not overstretch for long periods of time. Sorry to be so serious and dogmatic about this but women are terrible at spending themselves over and over again and thinking this is virtuous (well, what I mean is that they are far too good at doing it). Please be just a little bit feckless and selfish, dear Charlotte, as I would so hate for you to hit the wall. Right, lecture over now!

  13. I must say, being addicted to stress/work does not seem to be among my many issues 😉 But maybe it’s because I’m not doing a job I particularly adore. I think of it as an enabling mechanism for my travel, eating and blogging 🙂 And doing NaBloPoMo and finding it quite a stretch, I am also asking myself “how in hell did you ever dream you could do NoNoWriMo?” 😉

  14. I am slowly curing myself. Maybe that’s the whole point of

  15. Take a step back every now and again and realise you don’t have to do everything. And that you have jolly well earned some downtime.

  16. See how biased even our language is: why do we have to ‘earn’ some ‘downtime’? As if wealth, social achievement or material comfort were dire needs, and rest just a treat that needs to be deserved?

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