As I write this I am standing on the tube with two full Tesco bags literally dripping with sweat after sprinting from the office to the tube station because I’m rushing home to make dinner for a friend.
The stress of this situation’s got me thinking: Why is it only on the days you really have to leave the office on time that a million and one things crop up at 5.01pm that require your immediate attention? Is it some kind of divine test? If yes then I’m afraid I’ve failed, because not only have I not managed to deal with the million and one things that cropped up (I maybe managed four), I have also fully lost my composure (hence the sweaty mess that virtually stands before you-though it must be said that this ridiculously hot day has also played a significant part in that).
I suppose I should be grateful that these days I have a job where I’m usually able to leave soon after 5pm. Back in the dark days when I worked in leaflet distribution (I’m shuddering as I type those words) I regularly stayed in the office until 10pm, which is ironic given how unimportant that job was compared to the one I have now (I’m not sure my ex-boss would agree with that, or my ex-client come to that, but it’s true).
Even in my last job working for another charity I rarely got out of the office before 7pm. Working late is a culture, I know, especially in central London, but it’s one I’m no longer prepared to adhere to at the expense of my sanity and mental well being, especially now I’m in my thirties (sob).
In the vast majority of cases I doubt people’s productivity at the end of a ten or more hour stint in front of the computer is even worth their being there, but often they feel duty bound to stay because others are, or because they fear their slave driver boss will haul them over the coals if they leave (which, if my previous experience is anything to go by, they most likely will).
Well, count me out thanks very much. After ten years of imbalance I’m taking it back and making time for ME. I do my job and do it well, but at the end of the day I want to have an evening, whether it be to enjoy with my friends, exercise or do my writing. Without that I feel trapped, and whilst I’d rather not be sweating into my shopping bags right now because I’m so desperate to enjoy my evening, when I’m drinking an ice cold glass of Pinot Grigio by 6.30pm it will all have been worth it. Cheers.