Who wants a four-day work week?
Apparently, lots of people, and there’s a movement afoot to make it more popular. I guess I’ve been ahead of the times for the past few years.
After 15 years at my longest job, my then boss offered me a raise because I did a good job even though the boss was driving me crazy. I was soooo exhausted. I had been working my ass off despite recently being hospitalized with ulcerative colitis – which was taking a serious toll on my physical well-being. So, I told the boss that instead of a raise I would really like to work one less day per week. And he agreed!
I love my four-day work week. Working four days instead of five, means:
♦ There is no “hump” day. Monday and Tuesday go by quickly because they’re the start of the week when I’m fresher. Wednesday, which normally is the middle of a five-day week – is only one day away from the new end of the week, so that on Wednesday, I think “I can get through today and tomorrow, and then I have three days off.” And, of course, Thursday – being the last day of the new work week – is spent energetically finishing up whatever needs to be finished up for the week. Therefore, there are no unproductive days in a four-day work week.
♦ Having that one extra day off per week – in my case Friday – allows me to make all medical and other appointments for Friday, thereby avoiding the need for sick time away from the office. Of course, if I actually get sick – like with flu or a colitis flare-up – I still might need a day off in the middle of the week, but that seldom happens. With the four-day week, even if I’m feeling poorly, I can usually talk myself into getting through because “It’s a short week. I can do this.”
♦ Driving back and forth to the office one less day per week saves on gas, even if I have medical appointments – because those usually are closer to home, and of course, I don’t have medical appointments every week.
♦ Laundry is easier. I only have four days worth of work clothes to wash, and I have three days in which to do that.
♦ I have one extra day for shopping or goofing off, without having to face those weekend crowds. Believe me, that does wonders for one’s mental outlook. There’s just something really cool about flitting around while my co-workers are at the office busily completing their tasks. Even though it’s my normal schedule now, it still feels like playing hooky.
♦ Even the weekends are better. With a five-day work week, the first weekend day is spent trying to catch up and de-stress, and the second day is spent preparing to go back. There’s really not much down time in a two-day weekend. With a four-day work week, assuming the “off” day is either Monday or Friday, the middle day of the resulting three-day weekend is pretty much stress free – so that I feel like I actually had some time off before returning to work the next week.
(Note, however, that all the above apply only for 8-hours days. If you wind up working 10-hour days in order to get a four-day week, you really haven’t gained anything.)
Imagine my chagrin when I took The Job From Hell and had to return to full-time. No wonder I lasted just over a year there – although even had I negotiated a shorter work week, the result would have been the same. That job was simply impossible no matter how many, or how little, hours were put in. The girl that replaced me quit after three months.
It was fortunate that I was able to land my current four-day-a-week job. I love my new job (I say it again!). By the time I get to the point in the week when I’m feeling a little tired, it’s already time to wind up for the weekend. Although I seldom feel that burn-out: there is little to no stress, there are rarely deadlines, and my bosses and co-worker are easy to be around.
The only thing better (if I have to work at all) would be a three-day work week. That will be the next step.
Or better yet – one of those work-at-home jobs (a legitimate one, if there is such a thing), or perhaps self-employment (like writing that best-selling novel). Working on that, too.
For those of you still stuck in the 9-t0-5, five days a week:
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Images by Cordelia’s Mom