As I’ve alluded to on a few occasions, my previous job was a lot of work with virtually no down time. This has made me quite aware of the hours being worked by those around me, particularly in a service capacity.
It all started with a McDonald’s ad (Aren’t you amazed I remembered who the ad was for?) showing customers asleep in bed while employees were already at work preparing their food.
Although it was not intended, what I got out that ad was that these hard working, essentially anonymous people enable everyone else to sleep in. It had such an Upstairs/Downstairs feel to it. It made me sad for those workers.
One thing I often felt working in customer service for a luxury product was that I was invisible. Because of that, I now make a concerted effort to give sales staff my full attention. I make eye contact. I ask about their day. They matter.
A few months ago I read Joe Lieberman’s The Gift of Rest.
I was really hoping the book would be more than what it was, but it was a good reminder of how much better I perform when I have the opportunity to relax and reflect. When I only had one day mainly off, that day was dedicated to errands. It was go, go, go. Now that I have every Saturday and Sunday off, I am very aware of the people whose work schedules enable me to go shopping, and to the library, and everything that isn’t me sitting at home.
I remember when retail establishments and fast food places would close each day. Although I have taken advantage of the unusual hours in the past, I am now wondering if as a society we need people to be awake in the middle of the night to satisfy the munchies or a midnight need for garland (right, Rebecca?).
I’d be willing to give up some convenience so more people could have a traditional work schedule. Then again, would they really be presented with Monday to Friday jobs? This is why I’m not a politician – I prefer when these complex problems fall above my pay grade.
Do you take a day of rest? or Have you ever worked a non-traditional schedule?