Youth Ministry and Time Off

calvin school.gif My youth group were very concerned that my job as a Parish Youth Worker involved a bit of a con on the part of my employers. I remember one of them giving me a bit of a lecture at one point that went something like:
“Ian, because you work for the Church you have to work the weekend, yes?”
me: “yep”
“So you work BOTH days at the weekend, right?”
me: “yep”
“And because of this you get A day off in the week instead?”
me: “Yep”
“AND DOES THAT MAKE SENSE IAN?”
Diana has written a bit about T.O.I.L and it certainly is a challenge to work out a work/life balance when ministry is also a calling.
I went for a job in Basingstoke quite a few years ago and the vicar made it very clear to me that they expected employees to do a 45 hour contract week PLUS do another 15-20 hours to match the best of the volunteers! (Thankfully I didn’t get the job)
In my current job I monitor my hours …. I just drop the hours into a spreadsheet I built (and went a bit over the top with) and at the end of the work it tells me my working hours, average hours per working day, percentages against contract and time off owed. Trouble is, what do I then do with that information?
(Just opened the post and YPN has a whole article about the amount of unpaid overtime that the youth service relies on)

8 Replies to “Youth Ministry and Time Off”

  1. You can understand the point, I remember a time a couple of years ago, I ended up at the doctors with stress, they thought the fact that I worked a 6 day week was excessive. The thing I find frustrating is living about 3 hours drive from family and with 2 young children, I can’t do it in a day, thankfully they are retired and able to come to us fairly often but I feel guilty that they have to do most of the travelling. While I can take T.O.I.L. there is often so much to rearrange to take it as a whole day or so it just complicates thing further.
    Well that’s my gripe for the day! Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and having recently changed I though about what I else might do but I couldn’t find anything that I would rather do than youth work!

  2. I find i often dont want to take time off, when you actully love your work its difficult to prise yourself away from it. But i learnt after my first year of regular 80 hour weeks that if i wanted to stay in youthwork for any length of time i would have to keep somewhere neer my contracted time. I also think that being a male of the species my sense of worth and success comes largely from what i DO and achieve so my inner self feels a need to keep working. Also when your trying to do a job which has little or no funding and you are supposed tpo be the expert it doesnt take long to find yourself feeling indespensible. A recent report has concluded that us Brits work the longets hours comopared to our counterparts in Euroland yet our productivty levels are barly in the top ten, so my current affirmation to myself is “work less, achieve more”!! In reponse to Barries comment i do feel guilty sometime that i get paid to waste time with young people on the streets or by playing pool and chilling out. I would nt change a thing (except my payslip at the end of the month maybe! My wife works half the hours yet still recieves the same Net pay each month as me, how fair is that?! lol).

  3. I hate that “shouldn’t I do more hours as my ‘service’ to the church on top of my job” thing, which you mention in the Basingstoke job. What a load of nonsense! If you work in a bank all week youthwork (or any church stuff) is a change. A break even for some people. Why put that expectation on paid staff?

  4. I think it’s fair for youthworkers to do a little bit extra for the church community – a tithe if you’d like. That makes 44 hours a week for me. Well I CERTAINLY manage that!
    However, as Lev says, other people do somethng DIFFERENT. Shouldn’t we maybe do those extra hours for church doing something that’s NOT youthwork or do something that’s not CHURCH even like working for a local charity?

  5. Personally believe it is too easy to start on the hours thing. There are plenty of people who do ridiculous hours and plenty who do few hours. Realistically we should concentrate on expectation rather than time spent. However, I do find myself saying amen to all the previous comments.

  6. Hi, I’ve seen this in Sweden also, a lot of people, youth workers, musicians and others work way to much and finally have to take sick leave. It’s great that people do all kinds of work in the church but there has to be a well defined limit, people shouldn’t be expected to be in church both working hours and the same amount of time as volonteers.

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