Two-Day Weekends and My Cold, Dead Hands

Joe Wiesenthal creates out of thin air the first-worldiest of all first-world problems. (And I say this as someone who loathes the "first-world problems" faux guilt-tag.) You know what our problem is? Too many days off:

Far from everyone has a job where they're truly stimulated, and get to be around people who provide them an invigorating level of social interaction. But for the people who do have that, two days is a long time to totally shut that out. After a day, it's time to start warming back up and getting into work mode.

For many professionals it seems, Sunday is less a "day off" than it is to do similar things as you might do while "at work" but without the infrastructure and bureaucracy of being "on the job."

Let's give the benefit of the doubt, considering his use of the word "professionals," and presume he's not talking about folks who physically labor, or work themselves to exhaustion at their jobs.

But even so. Work is work. Even if you're lucky enough to be intellectually engaged by your job, even if its associated subject matter is something you're fascinated by regardless of your state of employ, even if you'd do your day-job work for nothing if you had to, it's still your job. Particularly if you work for someone, you're doing that meaningful work within a structure and an institution that has its own overarching needs and directives, and which always supersede yours.

You will have goals to meet, boxes to check. You have a schedule, deadlines, "working hours" that, presumably, you do not set. When you are "at work," your time and efforts are not your own. This can even be the case if (and sometimes especially if) you own your own business, and answer to no one. Because it's work, you're somewhere, somehow, answering to somebody.

And you need time off from that. And one day doesn't cut it, not for me anyway. One day off is a fluke, a sick day, an errand day. Two days off is minimum for what feels like actual time off.

Of course, it's perfectly fine to choose to continue to engage in things related to work on your days off. It's even okay if you want to just work! But then, it's your choice, you've decided that you want your leisure time to be filled with more from the universe of your job. Fine.

Me, I can't do that. I love the organization I work for, and I'm proud every day to be a part of it. I believe in its agenda wholeheartedly, and find its sphere of subject matter fascinating and critical.

But on my off-time, I hardly touch it. I don't read atheist blogs on the weekends, I don't listen to the skeptic podcasts, I don't spend my quiet time reading books about secularism. Because to me, it's all part of work, and I need to decompress from it almost entirely when I'm not at work. Why wear myself out on it if I don't have to? Why waste the opportunity to engage in other interests and activities?

I want two days to cleanse the palate. Bare minimum. One day would be akin to an ill-timed nap that leaves you more tired than before. Add to all this that I have two small kids, and that not-work time becomes several times more valuable.

So, no. Let's not do one-day weekends. Ever.

Now, I could be open to staggered days off, say, Saturday and Wednesday or something. But two. No fewer. Ever.