Relaxing weekends are a thing of the past
Working for the weekend. Very popular coping mechanism. Remember the song?“Everybody’s working for the weekend; Everybody wants a little romance;Everybody’s goin’ off the deep end; Everybody needs a second chance …”— Loverboy, 1981God, I hated that song. If it’s stuck in your head, use my foolproof method to get it out: Sing the first line of “Song Sung Blue.” No need to thank me.The weekend, the safe haven, the two-day oasis in the Land of Nose to the Grindstone is on get-a-life support. Blame fluid job descriptions. Blame electronic devices that not only track, but keep track. Blame a multitasking mind-set that has too much to do, and not enough kick back built in.Self inflicted?I have to say I have never gotten why people take great pains to make sure “work” can reach you at any moment of the day or night. When did “off” become “on call”? And to what end? If the boss contacts you during the weekend, which of the following two conversations is most likely to follow:He is calling to get you to do more work?He is calling to tell you he is giving you a raise?Yet when the phone pings we respond like salivating lapdogs. This is why it has always been my practice to make myself so hard to get a hold of on the weekends that I’m usually not able to get in touch with myself.Anyway.Another reason the weekend is eroding is that more and more people are self-employed. Working for yours truly sounds pretty good until you start doing it. Then you come to realize that working for yourself means working all the time.Another thing you soon understand is that much of the job entails having to deal with problem employees. I mean, if I had to deal with me I’d quit so as not to give myself the satisfaction of firing me. Given the demands of work, along with the demands of having an actual life outside of work, the term “lost weekend” has become as much about overscheduling as overindulging.Friday: The weekend begins on Friday night. If you are in your partying years, the work week often ends happily at happy hour. If you are in your I’m-turning-into-my-parents years, the work week concludes with a darkened-room crash before the television.Saturday: To the partyers, Saturday morning is dedicated to putting as much time as possible between last call and someone pulling up the shade and asking if you are going to sleep all day. If you are not suffering the effects of an excessive happy hour, chances are you are up early on Saturday morning doing chores, running errands and shuttling kids to games and activities. This leaves Saturday night to relax, go out, have some fun. If, that is, you have the energy after having spent the day frantically trying to catch up and reintroduce yourself to those nodding acquaintances also known as your family.Sunday: Ah, Sunday, the day of rest, right? Except …There is church, if you are a churchgoer; sleeping in, if that is your religious rite; recovering, if you had a particularly good- or bad- Saturday night. Whatever your persuasion, this generally leaves the afternoon free, a rare window of opportunity to do whatever it is people who don’t watch sports on television do at this time of day. The worst thing about Sunday, of course, is that it turns into Sunday night, a time so depressing that if bars were smart, they would offer “Sad Hours.” You begin thinking about work, or worse still, work begins thinking about you (ping). Eventually, you drag yourself off to bed, the weekend but a blur in the rearview mirror.And then it is Monday morning, when you begin working for the weekend again. Which is why I hate Loverboy.Jim Shea is a lifelong Connecticut resident and journalist who believes the keys to life include the avoidance of physical labor and I-95. He can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @jimboshea.