Yesterday afternoon, I listened in on a conversation about how a young City lawyer had recently made Partner after only a few years in practice. The reason for this, I came to understand, was that he worked all of the time. Working hours in the City are notoriously unsociable, and so I was interested to hear that this young lawyer "even worked Saturdays and Sundays... Sometimes he gives himself time off on a Sunday morning but that's about it. But he loves what he does so it makes sense [that he got his promotion]." The conversation ended with other listeners-in branding Newly-Made Partner either "sad" or "crazy".
Before I worked full-time, I didn't understand why people would a) complain about working full-time, b) rejoice at the prospect of a Saturday and Sunday "free" from the stresses and binds of their working life, and c) mourn at the sudden loss of that glorious weekend period each Sunday night. I still hadn't quite wrapped my head around it during my first few weeks of full-time membership; co-workers would always talk of holidays and travelling and the "dream" of being able to take six months off. When I opted to take only one day off during the Christmas period, my colleagues thought me to be insane, misguided, sadistic even. Now, comfortably in the full-time swing, I often find myself slipping into what seems to be the normal reaction to one's working week:
(Tuesday morning) "I actually can't wait until the weekend..."
(Friday morning) "YES! Thank goodness it's Friday!"
(Sunday afternoon) "I've got to go back to work tomorrow...whyyy?" *groans*
My question is this: are we a nation of lazies?
Why is it that many of the British public views work as a weekly prison sentence, liberated each Friday evening only to be ushered back into their cells by Monday morning? Why do we long for Christmas and New Years' holidays when (for the most part), we are entitled to 104 Saturdays and Sundays off, an extra three to four weeks off per annum and around 12 to 16 hours each day for basic necessities such as sleep, eating and leisure?
Should everyone have the same positive attitude to what they do for a living as the Newly-Made Partner? Or is his case the anomaly? How does the distinction between people with "jobs" and those with "careers" affect each group's attitude to their daily grind? In terms of whether the British public (and indeed the majority of the Western world, to an extent) either works to live or lives to work, I'm sure the answer would easily be the former, but I still wonder whether a life of complete leisure is really the answer.
That said, I'm off to revel in my (partial) annual leave next week - woohoo!