Working nine to five

I like my student employees. They are very dedicated and hard-working and willing to prove themselves, and funny.

My current assistant, Jake, is very good at his job. He’s smart, and diligent. But he hasn’t really worked a job – a full-day, nine-to-five job – before.

On top of that, he’s working extra hours in the evening, at another campus job. Also he recently let me know that he’s working some extra hours on weekends. (That’s harder than I’ve ever worked in my life. I salute him.)

He said this to me last week (I paraphrase, lightly):

“This is weird. I come in here at eight-thirty, and it’s mostly sitting down all day, and I answer the phone a couple of times, and I go to lunch. And I work on stuff of my own, you know. And then it’s afternoon, and the day goes pretty quickly, and it’s five o’clock.  And I go home. And I know I’ve been sitting down all day. But I’m exhausted.”

All of you out there: do you understand Jake’s situation? I do. I was there thirty years ago, when I entered the workforce. I’m still there, really.

I mostly sit down during the day (though I buzz around the building a lot). I go home, and I make dinner, or Partner and I make dinner together.

And I’m exhausted.

What is it? Is it ego depletion? That’s supposed to be cured by ingestion of glucose / sucrose, and I’m sucking on Starlight Mints all day long, so that can’t be it.

It’s psychological. Hell, it’s generational. I’ve been working for the same employer for almost twenty-five years. Jake was born after I started working there!

Every few years I get this impulse to rebel and do something else. And then I settle down and fall back into my (admittedly very comfortable and reasonably well-compensated) rut.

Ah well.

Nine to five isn’t so bad after all, is it?



About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

2 Responses to Working nine to five

  1. starproms says:

    That’s the trouble with computer work – it’s mainly sitting down. I have mostly done office work which involves a lot of sitting and it isn’t good for you, especially the younger ones amongst us. When I left work to raise my children – 3 of them, I was at home all the time and I loved it. I rarely sat down but when I did it was quality time with the kids, reading, playing games, showing them things, drawing etc. Those were the days of my life and I miss them a lot.
    At least in a college you can, presumably, get up and walk about a bit sometimes. If you work for a small firm, there is not that opportunity. I’ve done both and I know which I prefer.

    • In my job, I can run around the building, and run errands, and do all kinds of things. So I can have variety. But it’s been twenty-five years! I’ve done it all, and I’ve seen it all. It’s just gotten a bit dull, that’s all.

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