Friday Misery Has Company

by kelly

 I realized, as I was pulling into the parking structure at work this morning, that I had an unusually bad work attitude going on.

Maybe because it’s Friday.

Maybe because this has been one of those weeks in which each day, I have faced a couple of major deadlines, with unexpected emergencies arising in the midst to contribute to my sense of feeling frazzled about getting everything done on time. 

Maybe it’s because every night this week, I have taken home files that I really should have stayed up to work on, after Emma went to sleep.  But every night this week, I felt too tired to do that.

Maybe it’s because we are understaffed.  My boss will actually be making contacts with some prospective new hires today.  

Whatever the reason, by the time I had parked and made it to the elevator bank, I was deep in internal dialogue about this working life being the journey and not the destination.  I was reminding myself that, good health and luck, willing, I will someday be able to retire and take more time to do things on Mondays through Fridays other than follow this same routine.

Don‚Äôt get me wrong.¬† I know that I am very fortunate. ¬†For the kind of work I do, I really don‚Äôt think I could possibly find a better place, or atmosphere, in which¬†to do it. ¬†And there aren’t a lot of people who can say that.¬† But sometimes, thoughts of an existence beyond an office-centric one intrude, and this morning was one of those times.

It was then, at the elevator, that I encountered a co-worker.

“Hi.  How are you doing today?” he asked, as I was mid-internal-‘journey not destination’ sentence.

“Okay,” I said, perhaps not too convincingly.  “How about you?”

“Alright,” he said.  I noticed that he sounded as if he was straining as much to sound sincere as I was.

“Facing another busy one,” I said, clutching the file of documents I was carrying.

After a few more seconds had passed, and once the elevator was moving up, he volunteered that “The sad thing is that I’ve already billed two and a half hours today.  I’ve been working from home.”

Whoa.  I went into a brief discussion/justification along the lines of my mornings being filled with getting my daughter and myself up, ready, and to daycare, but that two and a half hours from home was indeed impressive.

He countered that he hadn’t meant to brag or compare, and that he was only seeking commiseration for the feeling that he has “no life.”

(This is not, by the way, the standard stuff of law firm partner elevator chit chat.) 

A few more seconds passed.  Just before the elevator door opened, we exchanged a sympathetic partial smile puncuated by work-week weary Friday eyes.  

“I commiserate.”  I said.

Just as I reached my desk, the phone rang.  It was my hard working, stiff-upper-lip husband, who called to say, very uncharacteristically, that he wished we didn’t have to work all the time.  He expounded upon how nice it would be if we could just all sit around more often and then take Emma for walks during the day.  

We briefly reassured one another with visions of a future retirement before returning, respectively, to our busy days. 

One Response to “Friday Misery Has Company”

  1. Nicole Says:

    I have decided that today is a bad day for everyone. Certainly not a good day for me