Putting a Price On Time


I’m going to go out on a limb here and write a bit about work.

I know that it’s possible that some of my colleagues read this blog, so I’ll keep things as obscure as possible while I try to discuss what’s irking me.

Last week we had a meeting. Albeit a pointless, useless meeting that did nothing but solidify enmity between some of my colleagues and force me to work a ten hour day while four other colleagues sat around and singled out and pointed fingers at each other.

The only good thing about the stupid meeting was that it had absolutely nothing to do with me, aside from the fact that the person who I’d consider my closest friend in Belgium was at the center of the conflict and the meeting accelerated her current job search.

But one thing was said that planted tenacious little barbs in my craw and it’s been stuck there ever since.

“I spend more time here, with you all, than I do with my wife. I’m with you full time, and her part time.”*

Now, this coworker was simply trying to point out that in the line of work we’re in (10 people working in a small kiosk that is open 7 days a week) we have to be around each other a lot and therefore, we have to be patient with each other and try to get along despite our differences.
And he has a point and is totally correct in the sentiment he was trying to put across.

But I, personally, do not want to spend more of my waking time with my coworkers than my husband! Period.

As I stated to Piet via messenger a few minutes ago:
life just shouldn’t be like that
you work with someone cause you have to, you marry someone cause you want to. You should be spending more time with the people you choose, not the ones forced on you by association

Not that I don’t like my coworkers (to varying degrees), because I do, but I don’t get to pick and choose who I work with or what shifts I work or anything like that. There are times when I work with all of my favorite people for an evening, although that’s rare. There are times when I work only with people who I can really only relate to on a work level and those times I quite content to cut out the chatter and simply do my work. I am very rarely working with what I consider the ideal set of people to work together in a cramped little box surrounded by loud, hot machines, serving people who aren’t always particularly good natured or friendly.

Some days I wake up at 4 in the morning and I’m biking in the cold darkness of 5 a.m. on a nearly empty street where even the gas stations aren’t open yet in order to get to work in time to open and have people leave in a huff when they find out the croissants aren’t fully baked yet. On those days I leave work at 1:30 in the afternoon and I usually take the rest of the day to get any random groceries or laundry done before spending a few hours online. I don’t usually have the energy to want to cook dinner by the time Piet gets home, but lately I’ve gotten back to trying to do it more. Or at least buying some healthier things and asking Piet to cook them. On those days I try to watch some television in the evening with my husband, but more often than not I’m passed out sleeping by 8 p.m.

Other days I get to wake up around 8:30 and Piet goes to work while I have my few hours online before preparing my lunch and heading off for the evening shift. I usually get home around 10 p.m. which means Piet and I don’t eat together at all.

I suppose we could develop some sort of routine around these shifts if they were regular, but they aren’t. Monday and Tuesday I might close, with Wednesday off. Thursday and Friday I might open with a middle shift on Saturday and Sunday I’ll have off. the next week is usually something different.

I admit, it’s really starting to get to me. I want nothing more than to work a nice, normal, Monday to Friday job that’s within normal hours. Oh, yeah, that isn’t customer service.

I want to spend more time with my husband, the person I chose to have in my life as much as possible.

I’m not asking for more hours in the day, just for the hours that exist to be spent on the person I love the most.

*loosely translated from somewhat broken, Arabic-accented Dutch


3 responses »

  1. This is such a hard one. It’s getting more and more difficult for all of us to spend more time with the people we love than the people we work with. Even when my husband is home, he’s often working. My son is doing homework. The first year we were married, my husband was doing a paid job for his adviser and I think he felt he had to spend 24/7 on it. I was new at my school district and felt I should be doing the same. It was *not* a good way to start a marriage. It does sound, though, like you and Piet at least have your priorities straight. I think that’s a very, very important first step towards making that goal of having more time together.

  2. I agree with you.
    I wish that my husband spent more time with his family than he does at work.
    He leaves at 5am and gets home around 7pm. He spends all of that time with his workmates and not with me and not with the kids and you’re right, it shouldn’t be that way at all. Some weeks (particularly bad ones) it can bring me to the very brink.
    We fight more on the nights he’s home late, on the weeks when there is no work life balance.

    It’s so hard.

    Dave’s company has high expectations for the people who work for them. They are not family oriented, even though they boast that they are and Dave is always in conflict trying to work out how he can balance everything out.

  3. The job/family balancing act is a really tough one especially if you are on some sort of swing shift..which is your situation…if you can carve out a chunk of ‘me’ time and a chunk of ‘us’ time each day…even if it is one hour each, that is better then no time. Keep a calendar to keep track and STICK to it…it’ll be worth it…honest!

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