Today is my first Saturday at work since I started my “new” job (more than six months ago).
I came in today not really because I NEED needed to, but because there’s a project I’m hoping to finish before Thanksgiving. I felt it would be nicer for the author if he had the extra long weekend to work on his edits if he wanted to; he works full time and I was trying to be considerate.
My colleagues were horrified when I mentioned I might come in this weekend. It’s an interesting culture switch. At my last job, I was in the office for at least one full day almost every weekend, and often I would run into other colleagues there. None of us were proud of or happy with the arrangement; there was just no way to get our jobs done in the 40 hours (ha!) of a traditional work week. I also frequently stayed until 8 on regular weekday nights, or until 10 or 11 on Friday nights (Friday night, it turned out, was the quietest time to get work done). I was of the state of mind that sometimes I’d be out having lunch with friends on a Saturday or Sunday and then, at a loose end afterward, I’d think, what the heck, might as well pop in for a couple hours. It was the default.
My lifestyle has changed really drastically since then. I now work at a press where the 40-hour work week is a religious creed, where my boss regularly asks after employee’s individual welfare, and where I’ve never heard any raised voices (erm, except that time we got in a staff brawl over whether or not David Foster Wallace was pretentious for using words no one can be expected to recognize without a dictionary–that one actually got pretty violent). Also, the staff drinks a lot less per capita. I think that’s because we all have less need for self-medication.
Working in an arts industry doesn’t have to be ugly. I wonder why so many companies cultivate stressful, catty, or miserable atmospheres. I wonder if it’s because the people who run them grew up in other stressful, catty, or miserable environments, and were slowly ruined by their own poisoned bosses? Or is it some kind of snob factor–“you only deserve to work in publishing if you can survive X, Y, *and* Z”?
Anyway. I enjoy editing, and am happy to be spending my Saturday doing this. Afterwards, F and I will go and have some chow at some nice hole-in-the-wall not to far from our house. We are torn between Ecuadorian or Moroccan. Opinions are welcome.