One of the questions that I am often asked is how many hours a week do I spend volunteering as Village President? Is it a full-time job? While the time spent on Village concerns varies widely from day to day, one thing that I can guarantee is that this is a job without regular “office hours.”
Most weekdays I spend a minimum of two hours answering emails and phone calls, oftentimes more. Several days a week I have meetings to attend, many in Long Grove but others further afar in Lake County or downtown Chicago. Quite a few of my meetings are in the evening, including Village Board meetings which typically run until 10 pm or later. Invariably, issues “blow up” on weekends, and I will spend time dealing with something unexpected on a Saturday afternoon or while on vacation. The demands on my time are consistently unpredictable!
More of a surprise to me are the various locales that I find myself working in. Our Long Grove Village Hall is in a restored 1850’s Tavern, and while quaint and charming, it is short on work space. I do not have an office, and the only place for me to work at Village Hall is in the public meeting room, when available. So when I need to meet with someone, I most often go to them. I sometimes joke that our local coffee shop, Beans & Leaves, is my office because I use it so often as a spot to be available to others who want to talk with me one on one. I have also conducted meetings in many of the shops and restaurants in our historic downtown, and really, can you beat the atmosphere of the Village Tavern for a serious discussion with a couple of merchants? Recently, a liquor license needed to be signed ASAP for our newest establishment, Finch’s Beer. Neither I nor our Village Clerk work at Village Hall more than once or twice a week, but I just happened to be seeing Heidi that evening at a charity event in Chicago, so I took the document along and we were both able to sign it. And since our office that evening was the Four Seasons, we were able to enjoy a Finch’s Beer after making it legal to be sold in Long Grove!
Of course, a major amount of my work is done on the computer or over the phone from my home office. One benefit from working at home is that you can work from wherever that home may be at the moment. I am extremely blessed to have a personal “Camp David” where I can retreat for a few days of R & R with my family. And while it is mentally helpful to occasionally get out of Dodge, I do find myself working from my vacation home on a regular basis. The most unusual places I have worked on Village issues include exotic spots like Bora Bora and Anguilla. I used to quip that a tropical vacation for me would not be complete without a call from our Village attorney detailing some new threat of litigation. My husband broke the string recently by taking me to a tiny island in the Caribbean where my cell phone would not work. It was bliss! Probably the strangest experience of working for the Village remotely is when a reporter for the Daily Herald tracked me down at my hotel in Salzburg, Austria for my thoughts on the antics going on in Long Grove during a contentious Trustee election.
I do actually have an answer for that question about how many hours I put in on a weekly basis. For a three month period last fall, I kept track of my time spent volunteering for Long Grove and it averaged out to 30 hours per week. And for the record that does not include time spent blogging!