As we excavate our salads, sitting on the porch of Ft. Lauderdale’s Riverside Hotel, Marge Schiller slips me a copy of her book.
“Inscribe it, please,” I beg. I’m a fan of appreciative inquiry, and I am tickled to receive a copy of Marge’s Appreciative Leaders: In the Eye of the Beholder.
Let’s “plerk” together and see what happens, the inscription reads.
Plerk – that’s play and work, Marge, right?
Very cool. I think of a comment Richard del Prete, my therapist, made during a session a few days earlier. Richard and I meet Saturday mornings at 10. “Some people think it’s weird that I see a client on a Saturday,” Richard says. “But for me this isn’t work. It’s something I love to do.”
Marge and Richard get it. They plerk. And both are individuals of a certain age when most folks have chosen to retire. But really – why would you want to stop working when working is plerking?
This is entirely the artist’s view of life. Artists are baffled by the corporate obsession with retirement. Yes, an artist’s work may at times be frustrating, challenging, infuriating, tough. Once in a blue moon exhilarating. But most importantly, artists don’t consider their work “work.”
I mean, really – why the heck would Betty White want to give up the pleasures of plerking?
We have invented the notion of work/life balance as an antidote to the workaholic life. Well-intentioned, for sure. But some murky notions lurk behind this divide: Life is where I have fun and do the things I cherish. Work is where I meet goals and objectives. Life is where I hang with the folks I truly love. Work is where I hang with the folks I did not choose. Life is where I fuel my energy. Work is where it gets depleted. Life is my source of joy, work is not.
A simplistic narrative, agreed. But plerking eradicates these distinctions in one fell swoop. Plerking is a state of mind. It’s an energy I choose to bring to every moment, every time – in life and work.
My action for the week: I look for ways of plerking. I do so in the following two ways:
1. I make the decision to plerk (that’s the mental switch I turn on).
2. I initiate behaviors that elicit the plerking energy in those around me.