By Alexia Saoulli
I AM not a morning person. I used to think I was but I can now safely say I am not. I know this because every day, when my alarm goes off at 6am, I have to muster all my strength to drag myself out of bed to get ready for work.
Mondays are the worst. The day is longer and you’re more sleep deprived because of those extra couple of hours lie-in you indulged in on Sunday, which kept you up well past your normal bedtime on Sunday night.
Tuesdays are better than Mondays because you’ve gotten to grips with your workload and have planned out your week. They’re even better if you’ve had a productive Monday despite your tiredness.
Wednesdays are known as the midweek hump. I didn’t know what that was until I started working here.
“You’re kidding right? The midweek hump! You know, it’s all downhill from here to the weekend?” one of my colleagues told me in disbelief.
“Alex-ia (I don’t know why but English people in England really struggle with my name and always get the accent wrong or just end up calling me Alex), how can you not know the midweek hump?”
I shrug and put it down to my provincial Cypriot roots. Where I came from Wednesdays meant the shops were all closed. If you were a civil servant it meant it was your ‘long’ day with a 6pm finish. Not during the summer months mind you. God forbid civil servants should be made to work a full day till 6pm in the heat. I mean it’s not like their offices are fully air conditioned.
However, since moving here and, finally, finding employment, I have become very au fait with the midweek hump. It’s like a sunbeam bursting through a grey cloud, promising great things if you only wait it out.
On Thursdays I feel slightly more chipper. TGIT. That’s Thank God It’s Thursday. I say TGIT because the following day is TGIF and TGIF means that there is no early morning start on Saturday. As I stand on the platform waiting for my tube at 6.48am I fantasise about my lie-in in just two days time. I don’t even have to make myself a silent promise that tonight I will get to bed early because it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter because Friday follows Thursday and anyone will tell you that Fridays are the new Saturdays at work. I know employers don’t like to think of their workers slacking off, but they all do on Fridays. It also means dress down day, unless you have a client meeting, which I hardly ever do. Thursday nights are also the new Fridays so everyone goes out for after work drinks.
“Are you coming for a cheeky one?” my colleagues will shout out to each other as they head out the door in the evening.
Problem is a cheeky one often turns into a cheeky five or six. Not so much for me, as I’m not a big drinker, but certainly for my colleagues who come in the next day looking like something the cat dragged in. Sometimes I wonder why they even come in on Fridays as they are clearly in no shape to work. The working day also invariably involves a running commentary of their shenanigans from the night before. Half the time I thank my lucky stars that I’m not in the same age bracket and that I don’t have their tolerance (or rather intolerance) for alcohol. The things they get up to a night out boggles the mind. Have you heard of the expression don’t sh*t on your own doorstep? Clearly they haven’t.
On Fridays I practically bound out of bed. TGIF. TGIF.TGIF. I’m practically walking on air as I get ready for work. I even allow myself to catch the 6.49am tube on Fridays, instead of busting a gut to catch the 6.46 or 6.48 train (a bit anal I know but in London, every minute counts). The reason for my ‘tardiness’ is because I know that I’ve completed my tasks for the week and that today I can be a bit more relaxed about things. I also know that I’m going to get out of the office at the more reasonable hour of 6.30pm. I know this, because I’ve stayed till 7.30pm at least two nights of the week and till 9pm on at least one other night. When you start at 7.30am that’s a pretty long day. On Fridays though, on Fridays I get to unwind and mentally prepare for two days ahead of just taking it easy and sleeping in. I sometimes wonder what I’ll do when I have babies. I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.
I actually always remember my friends telling me that working in London was totally different to working in Cyprus.
“The hours are longer, distances to and from work are longer, and Monday to Friday you really have no life. Not like here where you can meet up for a quick coffee before going home. You need to plan everything over there. Are you sure you want to go?”
At the time I thought this was maybe a ploy to get me to stay in Cyprus. Or if not as underhand as that, that it was their way of convincing themselves they’d made the right decision moving back to Cyprus. Now I kind of get what they mean though. Don’t get me wrong, I love working and am so grateful I actually have a job, but boy do I hate those early starts. They really are a killer. In Cyprus I really had it good. Although the days were long and I worked nights and Saturdays, I had a 9.30am start. Not only did I start much later, but getting to work took me all of five minutes: door-to-door and in my car. It really does make you realise that you only appreciate you what you have once it’s gone. Granted there are other pros and cons when comparing working conditions in the two countries, but today, when I’m feeling sleep deprived and brain exhausted, today I would give my right arm for a 9.30am start.