I know that sounds depressing, but it’s really not. I’m not in some nondescript grey office building at a desk for eight hours logging random figures or sending unnecessary emails thinking about the career path I should have had. I’m still a writer, and I’m still in the media, it just happens to be 9-5.30 and I’m at a desk. And it’s a grey door not a grey building. The job itself is what I want, and I now realise that I stupidly used to think that all the fun, interesting and desirable jobs have bizarre working hours. “9-5” and “desk job” tends to be code for “boring” “stop-gap” “Plan B/backup” jobs, but I have decided that this is a hugely unfair stereotype and I know I’m not the only one whose dream job happens to be front of a desk. So as a lucky duck who managed to swing a full-time job in her dream industry, here is my list of pros that come with the 9-5 job.
No more missing deliveries – most companies will deliver during office hours, and they never say what time. It could be 9am, it could be 4pm. No problem. 9-5ers can have things delivered to their place of work, where they know they will be there to collect it when it eventually arrives. And if you’re out on lunch, a colleague will still be there. Sorted.
Office banter – You’re working alongside the same people day in and day out. Aside from normal ranting about things you have to do occasionally, you will form a bond with these people, often over some shocking or breaking news* (*read: pointless and irrelevant links but somehow you click them anyway – I’m looking at you, Daily Mail addicts).
Regular sleeping patterns – You’re home at the same time every day and you’re up for work the next day at the same time every day. You know, down to the minute, exactly how much sleep you’ll get when you go to bed tonight. You do not mess with your sleeping pattern. Such a thing is rare. The only downside? When you want to sleep in on Saturdays your body clock has other ideas…
Regular…patterns in general – You get home, you have dinner, then you go for a run followed by a quick shower, then you organise your stuff for tomorrow and settle in to some relaxing TV time before bed. A change of plans just involves replacing TV time or skipping your run, or you can meet your friend for dinner instead. Regular food patterns, regular opportunities to wash your hair, and TV time is usually during prime time hours, not six hours of Jeremy Kyle in the middle of the day.
Lunchtime errands – Ok, so you don’t get home until six or seven, but you have an hour in the middle of the day that you can spend just relaxing, eating lunch or you can actually get stuff done. A particular bonus for lucky ducks like yours truly is working in the city centre so errands (like going to the bank or…shopping for new jeans) is even easier.
Mine…it’s all mine! – Maybe only I get joy from this, but I have my own desk and PC…and I love it. Probably an unhealthy amount but coming from jobs where you barely got your own locker, or a single shared desk with ten cubby holes far too small to fit more than a notepad in, my own desk where I can put my own stuff is a luxury. Granted it’s mostly pretty cluttered (see blog post about how long it took to clean my room…oh wait you can’t – it’s still not done) but it’s still mine.
Living for the weekend – What’s that you say? Regular, socially acceptable days off? And that’s every week? Well, thanks very much, if you insist. (Hidden downside: If you’re on the lower end of the spectrum where 95% of your friends are still working irregular hours and nearly all of them work weekends, you may still end up alone with no plans. Don’t worry though, you’re still the one who’s better off and they’ll all catch up soon.)
Bank holidays – These are magical days scattered throughout the year, often at the start of a month but can occur around certain holidays too. These are days you’ve heard rumours of, where regular-hours people just get an extra day off. And look: now your week is shorter. A bank holiday is always a Monday as well, so from now on there will be a few less Mondays in your world. You’re welcome.
Leave the office in the office – This varies from job to job, and often applies to jobs with irregular hours, but in a Monday-Friday, 9-5 job, it is socially acceptable to ignore an email you got on Friday at 6pm until Monday morning. If I can give you one piece of advice it would be this: please try to stick this. Do not bring work home if you don’t have to. If you must have your email account hooked to your phone, make a personal rule not to reply to any emails until you’re in work. Otherwise, you’re not working a 9-5, you’re working 24/7.
Of course I couldn’t write this post without a nod to Dolly Parton. Congratulations if you just started a 9-5, this is your new anthem.