I recently picked up what was to be a two week contract for a company back in the city where I used to live. And as expected, two weeks very quickly turned into three weeks… but I could work the third week from home. And then the third week inevitably turned into, “We have plenty of work you could do for us remotely. You might as well stay on indefinitely if you want. You can work from home…”
It is shockingly difficult to not have a job when you are likable enough to get through life, and you have some idea how to program computers. Or do anything else, for that matter.
This was in fact the first Monday to Friday job I have had since my Great Escape two Januarys ago. And two things have really stood out since I started my intended brief return.
Two-Day Weekends are Really Fucking Short
Stupidly short. The graph of weekend-days vs. weekdays on a scale of zero to seven is not even close to a linear relationship. A three day weekend is nowhere near fifty percent better than a two day weekend. It is more like three hundred percent better, if I had to put a number to it. Whatever that even means.
I am currently giving 70% of my days to someone else. I get the 30% that is left over. I get home Friday evening after having worked the week, and before I know it I am back drinking coffee at my desk Monday morning. Waiting for the next Friday once more. It’s crazy.
Actually what is crazy is how people just accept it and live with it. Some people even say it is the way it has to be. I have known for years that the Green Party advocates a four day work week. I can’t imagine ever voting for another party again, after this recent rehash of the five day work week.
Don’t get me wrong – my sentiment has nothing to do whatsoever with this particular job. The job is easily as good as any job I have ever had before. Except the pay is ferociously better this time. So the job is better I suppose. That is why we work after all.
The problem is that this job’s format is broken, like it is with virtually every other job that exists. It is not suitable for the human body, so the human body is forced to adapt.
Your Body is Amazing
For years I worked the Monday to Friday slog. Forty or fifty hours a week. Sometimes sixty or seventy. Perhaps even eighty a couple of times. Like Loverboy said, I was working for the weekend. If I were to be getting one at all that week. I was never a fan of it, but it didn’t feel that bad. Not like it does now, now that I’m not used to it.
On my first day back at it this time around, I arrived around 9am and sat down at the pile of furniture and computer equipment that was to be my new and temporary desk. I was still tanned from our recent trip through Asia. My eyes could barely even keep focused on all the little words and symbols I was being forced to sift through. Let alone understand anything beyond what time the guys usually go out for lunch.
My co-worker attempted to tell me all the ins and outs of the system as we worked together to setup my computer. Actually, he didn’t attempt to tell me. He told me. But I could barely here him over the Bob Marley still spooling through my head on repeat. Somehow I managed to fool him into thinking I got it all, but I think I blew my charade over the next few days, as I asked him questions about every single thing we had already gone over on that first day.
By the time two o’clock finally rolled around that first day, I started to develop a pretty solid headache as my eyes and brain continued their intrepid struggle to keep focused. 5:30pm couldn’t come fast enough. But eventually it came.
And then the next day? Similar. Except a little easier. The pain delayed itself maybe thirty minutes.
And then perhaps another thirty minutes the following day.
And then before I knew it, I could make it through the full eight hours that was expected of me, relatively focused, and relatively free of pain. I was back in it. Right where I left it over a year ago. That’s not to say I feel good at the end of the work day. I don’t at all. I am mentally exhausted. Just like I was at the end of every day a year ago. It’s just that my body has managed to find a way to cope with what I am putting it through.
I am still trying to figure out if being accustomed to living in this clearly unnatural state that I have had to build myself up to is a good thing or a bad thing for a person. As any reader of this blog ought to expect, I am inclined to say no, it’s a terrible thing for a person.
But maybe it’s like a weightlifter having his body all unnaturally bulked up? Except its your eyes, brain, heart and jaw muscles?