Looking through a screen of scenic madronas toward a nature preserve on neighboring Decatur Island: One of the tranquil scenes from our frequent walks circling Center Island.
THE YEAR-ROUND POPULATION of our 176-acre island has swelled to more than 20, and not all are of the leisure class like Barbara and me. Some telecommute, others divide their time between Center Island and a Seattle office. So I recently heard a discussion of workplace performance evaluations.
If you, too, have been part of the great unwashed who have had to work for a paycheck, you’ve likely run up against a system of ratings in which you have to kowtow to a boss who gets to decide whether you regularly meet or exceed “expectations.”
As an official Old Fart (somewhere I have my membership card), I am nostalgic for the days when we would all just work hard, do our best, and any employer with half a wit to rub together could see that we deserved a raise every year.
But in the post-Reagan years, everything was turned over to the bean counters and there had to be — what’s the magic word? — a metric for work performance. Most of us have had brushes with some sort of performance evaluation system that seemed designed by the kind of person who would pluck the eyeballs out of a road-kill ‘possum, just because they could.
Now, having ditched the office almost a year ago, all that is behind me. And I’m happy to say that I’m the sole judge of what kind of day I’ve had.
For example, the other day I was sitting at my desk in Wee Nooke, my cedar-sided writing hut on the rocky knoll behind our cabin, and working on the latest mystery novel on which Barbara and I are collaborating, a continuation of the Murdermobile series. My eye was suddenly caught by a deer wandering by my window. The doe meandered around the knoll, oblivious to my presence, and then plopped down in a sunny bed of thick, emerald moss about 10 feet away, proceeding to take a nap.
As I continued tapping at my keyboard, I took great pleasure in looking up every few minutes to see my fuzzy woodland companion still there, at peace. It was a simple thing, but rarely have I been filled with such a sense of well-being.
Little moments such as that fill our days. Bringing coffee to my sweetie in bed most mornings. Walking the circle road around our island together, spying a peeping flock of golden-crowned kinglets. Buzzing over to Lopez Island in our fun old runabout. Sharing a good curry Barbara has whipped up in the cabin’s modern kitchen. Snuggling together under the covers on a cold night.
All those things exceed my expectations. I think I’ll keep this job.