When I told people I enjoyed working seven days a week, they were in disbelief.
For two years, I worked Monday to Friday, nine to five, at a digital content agency. Then on Saturdays and Sundays, I did eight-hour shifts in the newsroom at Newstalk 1010 CFRB.
I didn’t think it was crazy; I loved both jobs and happily opted for that schedule.
But in a society where we bounce out of the office on Fridays (and dread Mondays), it can seem counterintuitive to choose to give up your weekends.
A job that rocked the boat
Upon reflection, I realized why it wasn’t a jarring routine for me: my first full-time job had me (and everyone around me) working seven days a week.
For seven months, I was a social host on a cruise ship where we all clocked in every day. Although it was an unconventional job, it permanently impacted my state of mind when it came to work.
On the Carnival Fantasy, I was hosting bingo, conducting pool-side competitions and leading conga lines. I was part of a team of four, whose sole responsibility was to ensure the 1000+ guests onboard were having a good time.
Although it literally consisted of fun and games, there was a strict schedule with back-to-back events, which required props, prizes and intentional coordination. (God forbid we had the Hairy Chest Competition at the same time as Deck Party. Things would’ve gotten messy.)
Eschewing a “nine-to-five” mindset
We didn’t just work every day; we worked all day. Our shifts would be broken into two to three hours chunks, but could be scheduled for anytime between 5:30 a.m. and midnight.
So naturally, there was no “nine to five,” and on top of that, there was no “Monday to Friday.” This inconsistent calendar forced staff to take things day by day. Our work schedule would be posted a few days in advance and we were all at peace with that. There was no such thing as counting down until the weekend. If we looked forward to downtime, we just looked forward to our last shift that day. It forced us all to be truly present.
A new outlook
I know it’s not easy to let go of the constraints of our heavily calendared society, but I’ve been able to continue to embrace that mindset here on land (while still acknowledging what day of the week it is).
Working seven days a week meant my downtime wasn’t isolated to two days — it could happen any day of the week! Sure, the next morning I would have to go to work, but it was always met with free time in the evening. I wouldn’t look forward to Fridays. Instead, I would look forward to whatever the next day had in store.
This is not to say we should all be working every day, non-stop. Vacation time is valuable (on the cruise, after working for seven months, we’d get one month off), but I think it could be healthy to shift our mindset about the typical workweek.
Currently, I’m not formally working seven days a week, but a regular week has me doing work every day. I prefer it this way.
Amanda Cupido (Journalism ’12) is a communications advisor for World Vision International, the Innovator in Residence for podcasting at the Toronto Public Library and a journalism instructor at Seneca College. She is also the author of Let’s Talk Podcasting. Amanda currently sits on the Ryerson University Alumni Association’s Board of Directors.