All my working life, I’ve worked five days a week and had two consecutive days off – Saturdays and Sundays. Of course, as I worked my way up the corporate ladder, I had two consecutive days off in theory but not in reality. I’d often take home work with me and occasionally I’d go to the office on the weekend to get more stuff done. Additionally, I also had a non-corporate job waiting for me at home so even my down time was never really down time.
Of course, when my life changed I found that I had all the free time in the world. Every day was a day off and that was nice for a while but it quickly became old, particularly for someone like me who’s used to being active.
Then came Indonesia and I officially started working six days a week, with Sundays off. It was tiring, to be sure, but the monthly four consecutive days off that I had definitely made up for it. I almost always went back to work feeling re-energised because I had been on a mini vacation. There was enough to see and do in Indonesia and air fares were so cheap that flying off to some place for a long weekend was pretty easy.
Here, I work five days a week with two days off but they are non-consecutive days. I have Thursdays and Sundays off. When I was first given my schedule and saw that I had Thursdays off, I thought I should be a little envious of the people who got Mondays off so that they had two consecutive days off – Sundays and Mondays. I thought I should be but I wasn’t. To be honest, I came with an attitude of flexibility so that I was ready to work with whatever schedule I was given. I was more concerned about teaching young children than I was concerned about which day I had off.
My classes started off pretty slowly since they didn’t all start at once. They sort of gradually started over a period of a few weeks. Now that I’ve been fully into my schedule for a while, I’m so happy that I have a mid-week day off. I gladly work on Saturdays as a trade off.
The reason is that Thursday gives me a chance to recover from Monday to Wednesday, which are super busy days for me – so busy, in fact, that I rarely have time to pick up my phone to check messages. Mondays are my longest days, since I work from 9 am until 8 pm. I do have a span of a few hours during the day when I’m not teaching but I use that time to do lesson prep and I sometimes have training sessions to attend. Tuesdays are moderate, with more classes and lesson planning, but Wednesdays are usually a mad rush – back to back classes, Russian lessons, and lesson prep for Fridays. I try my best to get my Friday lessons prepared on Wednesday so that on Thursdays I don’t have to spend any time at all preparing for my class that starts at 9 am on Friday.
Thursday is recuperative for me but it’s also preparatory in that it allows me to get my mind ready for the last push of the week on Friday and Saturday. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t do as good a job on my last two days of work if I didn’t have a mid-week day off.
So what do I do on Thursdays? I’ve spent my Thursdays in a variety of ways. I meet people for lunch, I go walking around town, I run errands. Occasionally, I stay home and relax, not even stepping my big toe out my front door. On very rare occasions, I’ll spend some time preparing a lesson but that’s very rare and is the exception. I also try to write but to be honest, I’m only successful about fifty percent of the time when I try to do it on Thursdays. If I’m going to meet up with people that day, I try to discipline myself to write early but sometimes I don’t want to get out of bed to do anything before it’s time to get ready to go. I keep meaning to take myself off to a coffee shop to get some writing done in a different environment but so far, I haven’t managed to do it. So most of my writing actually gets done on Sundays.
Occasionally on Thursdays, I also need to do something official for school, like go to the tax office to get registered for a tax number (I’m totally legit, people!). These types of outings never last long because school always arranges it to be as easy as possible and take the least possible amount of time.
Meanwhile, my Fridays are much like my Tuesdays but with Russian lessons thrown in. And Saturdays are pretty intense once I get started because all of my classes are back to back.
So on Thursdays I basically try to find a balance between total relaxation and some level of productivity but mostly, relaxation wins out. Either way, I’m really glad that I now have the experience of having a mid-week day off. I don’t know how I managed without it before!