Wednesday, March 22, 2006

My salvation has come

And the word came down from above and spread through the masses, and there was great celebration. And on the fifth day, they broke free from the bonds of their slavery, they drank copious quantities of golden liquid, and gave thanks for all that was good.

And the commandment was: Summer Fridays Begin April 7th. It has been spoken.

Working in construction can really suck if you compare it to what most people would consider “mainstream” jobs. You work long, hard hours, you get very little time off, and at many companies the benefits suck.

Most construction companies only give off what I call The Holy Six Days of Construction: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day. Yup, that’s it. Now, if the holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, the president of our company will sometimes throw us a bone and give us the Friday or Monday off. It’s pretty funny because as holidays get closer, the water cooler conversation drops from who won the game last night to “do ya think Prez will give us that Friday off?” and the conspiracy theories run rampant.

Many construction companies make you work an entire year before you get even a week of vacation. We’re lucky that our company has one of the more generous vacation and sick policies in the industry (although I hear evil rumors that a huge global company based in California where my friend T. used to work gave up to 5 weeks off…bastards) so I really don’t complain very much. Because of that glorious thing we call Summer Fridays.

What the deal is with Summer Fridays is that we work an extra half hour Monday through Thursday, and then we close at noon on Fridays. And over time, the length of Summer Fridays has gone from starting on Memorial Day and ending on Labor Day, to stretching the entire length of Daylight Savings Time. Last year, our company didn’t have such a great year so Prez got a little crabby and ended up ending Summer Fridays almost two months early…

And the word came from above that the fifth day would be spent in servitude. And there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

And that pretty much sums up everyone in the office took the news. This year we were all concerned that perhaps Prez would still be grumpy about last year’s goings-on so for weeks everyone has been whispering behind closed doors trying to guess what he was going to do. I think if he’d decided to either shorten it or end it, they would’ve made the receptionist stand at the front door and collect everyone’s shoelaces and belts tomorrow morning.

Summer Fridays rock. I didn’t really appreciate them until after Monkey Man was born because suddenly any free time I’d had in the past was GONE. It’s nice to be able to come home and get a nap, or join a friend for a long liquid lunch, or go shopping, or whatever the hell I want to do. Last year when I was on the jobsite, I only got to take two Summer Fridays and I was seriously bummed out about it. Part of the crappiness of Summer Fridays is that the field employees technically have to work a full day on Friday if it’s necessary…so there is a teensy bit of tension between field and office all summer and for me it's always kind of tinged every Friday with guilt. So the year I was onsite I figured perhaps I should be a little more sensitive to the situation, suck it up and work full-day Fridays without complaining. I’m not sure if it meant anything to anyone other than myself, but it felt good to know that I was doing what the rest of the team was doing.

But this year, all bets are off. And lots of Coronas will be consumed. And I will probably spend most Fridays at the pool with my iPod, a good trashy book, and a cooler. And the world will be good.

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