I miss that Friday feeling.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t miss work as it was, I just miss the feeling of release that the Friday brought. Getting away early on a Friday afternoon, the drive home, tunes on in the car and the feeling that there was no work for a few days.
Looking back, it was relief. I was in a stressful job and weekends gave me a break from the pressure for a while. I was stressed and relaxation wasn’t easy, so I’d take whatever good feeling was on offer. Fridays were great.
In the worst job I ever had, identity anonymous to protect the cretinous, I would drive away from the gates with a huge smile on my face wishing it was for the last time. Then Monday would come around, the closer I got to the gates the greater the gloom descended. Working in civil service, even as a contractor, is not a pleasant place to be and this branch of Foreign & Commonwealth Office was the worst place I’d been. Oops, I spilled the identity……
It was a secure site and the gates were imposing. I now believe it was to keep workers in and not necessarily keep bad guys out. On a Friday, getting away early from there really was like getting out of jail, evading captivity and the drive home felt great. I was free for a couple of days and away from the nightmare.
It was bad due to weak management, who really were just thick bullies and had no clue how to manage people or complex departments. But that didn’t stop them. One thing about the UK civil service is that no-one is allowed initiative and it ends up that decisions are made way further up the chain, then filtered down. Not only the big decisions but some very mundane tasks that people lower down the food chain will not make as bitter experience has taught them not to think for themselves.
This leads to a bitter and unmotivated work force who turn up for work, do what they are asked to do and not one minute or task more. There is in-fighting, trench warfare and some very shady practices which add to the gloom. I was once in a meeting where the CTO joked about a bad practice that almost burned down a key data centre. He was ultimately responsible, but he laughed about it and in the next breath was condemning other people for some perceived inability or error on their part.
That was the level of people there and is representative of most departments I have witnessed within government, although this was an extreme example.
After 9 months, I decided enough was enough and I got out of Dodge. I had delivered on one project and the other that was being played with, I left them to fight it out. It was going nowhere, I knew that, they knew that and good luck to them. I wasn’t sticking around for the recriminations to fly round, although I would inevitably be blamed as I departed.
That Friday feeling as I escaped from somewhere so toxic was relief but nothing on the final day of leaving those gates behind. It poisoned me and contributed to my illness which I now suffer but I am better for having escaped as the feeling was elation.
I miss the Friday feeling and wish I could find something that pays which I could really enjoy. Work is necessary, so best to do something you enjoy and find your groove. If you don’t, get out and go find it or you may end up like me: battered, tired, broken.
Enjoy your Friday feeling and look after yourself.