These days, when people ask me how it’s going, my usual response is, “Livin’ the dream.”
And I guess I am … sort of.
You see, about seven months ago, following a nutty 10-day-on, four-day-off schedule, I had a little talk with my boss and basically told him I didn’t think I was capable of sustaining that kind of scheduled work pace over a long period of time. I told him I was concerned for my health, amongst other things. (Which, considering the entire planet was dealing with H1N1 at the time [and frankly, I worked in one of the biggest germ factories around] was, arguably, a legitimate concern.)
So, long story short, I landed a new work schedule, and one to die for: the highly-coveted four-day work week.
Fantastic? You betcha.
But – as with anything – there’s always a catch. I now work weekends. Every weekend.
Sure, there are huge pros.
I start work on a Thursday, when most people are praying for Friday to arrive, and the week to end. I get three days off. Three days I can use to run errands and not worry about weekend hours. To take naps at will and watch as much daytime TV as I want. And, theoretically, do the things that people do on weekends, during the week.
But there are also cons.
While I do have friends who I can see during the week, the majority have the complete opposite schedule from my own. So other than my parents, there are very few people I see regularly.
My social life has quieted down greatly. I miss brunches. Parties. Movies. A number of special occasions. On the odd occasions I do go out on a “school night”, I can’t really stay out late – or if I do, I pay for it the next day. Perhaps a lot of you don’t think it’s a big deal. And sure, it’s not – if you’re a homebody or have a family you have to get home to.
And on my days off, going out is at a minimum, mostly because where I live has often proven to be an effective deterrent.
If I actually want a weekend off, I have to book it off, often a month in advance, so the people doing the scheduling actually remember to get someone to fill in – or at least ensure I can get someone trained to be able to fill in while I’m away.
And it’s put a damper on my attitude. On Friday, when everybody is all “TGIF!” and getting ready to peel outta work, I’m bombarded by the expressions of happiness, whether verbally, Facebook, Twitter – whatever.
And all I can do is button my lips and silently remind myself that that was me, four days ago. But the camaraderie I once shared with people when I used to be on the same schedule? It’s no longer there.
And even though I work four days a week at 10 hours a day, I’m in no way safe from working overtime. In fact, it’s a regular occurrence.
I’ve done Friday nights. Twelve-hour shifts on Sunday night (which is supposed to be my “shortest” shift of the week) are pretty much a given. Even Saturdays aren’t safe. A couple of weekends ago, I worked until about 12:45 a.m. Sunday morning, only to return to work at 9 a.m. for another 12-hour shift.
I guess it wouldn’t be so bad if I actually LOVED my job. Right now, I’m just trying to find a way to like it.
Guess “livin’ the dream” comes at a small price, doesn’t it?