This is not normal

Do you get days off? It’s sort of sinking in that what I take for granted might be a little odd to most people.

I spent all day Saturday preparing my lectures for the coming week. That’s routine. I’ve heard rumors that most people can relax on weekends.

This morning I went into the lab early. I needed to feed the spiders and shuffle the males around to new females and replenish their water supply and check on the egg sacs (there was a new one today!), and then I’ll spend the time crunching data. This is Sunday, the day of rest, I hear?

Weekends are just the time I don’t have committee meetings or classes or lab sessions or meeting with students so I can get all the work done I’ll need to have complete for the weekdays.

It’s not all pain, though. I’m setting aside time to watch The Last of Us at 8pm tonight, and I usually read for half an hour to an hour before I go to bed.


  1. robro says

    Technically I have weekends off. Ten or 15 years ago, I worked a lot weekends. I even went in for meetings on Sundays. These days my position doesn’t require that, but Saturday is check messages, and Sunday is week planning. The big difference with weekends is I don’t have to submit time off requests and send out WFH messages if I decide to goof off.

    But that’s weekends. Working with people half-a-world away means we’re working very early in the morning or mid-evening, and sometimes both. If it’s 8:00am in Texas, it’s 6:00am in California, and 8:30pm in India. Somebody is going to have the pain. As folks in Texas schedule most of the meetings, California and India get the short end of that stick.

    It helps to be an employee. As a contractor I had to work all the time.

  2. Oggie: Mathom says

    I usually had two days off each week. Unless I was at a fire. Now? I basically have Sunday through Tuesday off and take care of the grandtwins the other four days. And will be puppy sitting the new black lab rescue puppy that my daughter and her husband just adopted.

  3. hemidactylus says

    I do mostly get actual days off sequestered from work though sometimes rumination and anxiety may invade that space.

    As for The Last of Us I might hold offa few days as I did for The Walking Dead so I can get to sleep. After the pandemic stress, anxiety producing shows get to me much more and this one really preys upon suspense.

    Pedro Pascal hosted SNL last night and spoofed the show with an adaptation of Mario Kart as a series:

    Wow, when I went looking for that this dark, real-life dystopian video appeared in my feed:

  4. birgerjohansson says

    Seriously, move to Canada. Or maybe a Norwegian university needs someone with your skills (it is an oil-producing country, so they will not be as vulnerable to recessions as other non-Merican places).

  5. René says

    Birger above seconded: PZ, you should have moved to NW Europe, and taken up a University scholarship. (Almost) All my life I have worked for English-language companies (Ashton-Tate, Elsevier, Oracle,…), to be utterly betrayed by most of them. Socialist European laws protected me from poverty.

  6. silvrhalide says

    Lots of people don’t have weekends off PZ.
    My vet might not have office hours 7 days a week but he sure does have to go to his job–which is a business he owns by the way–7 days a week. That’s the choice you make when you choose to work with animals.

    Lots of people don’t have weekends. Ask farmers, small business owners, independent contractors, all people for whom weekends are a hypothetical, not an actuality.

    If you want weekends off, there is always federal employment. Or state employment. Or other civic jobs, where you might not have the weekends off as such but you get a four-days-on, three-days-off as a firefighter, police officer, etc.

    For most people in the private sector who actually work M-F, the weekends are either the time they go to their second job–the one they need to make ends meet or the two days that they cram all the errands, domestic chores and all the other stuff that needs doing. Hardly anyone actually has the weekend to kick back and relax anymore.

    Bring back the unions.

  7. Simon Ives says

    Nah mate, not normal for anyone outside the States. You’re in the US and are free from modern labour laws, so that means you’re also free from free time.

  8. birgerjohansson says

    Simon Ives @ 9
    Yup. Land of the free, alright.

    Now that Britain is going down the drain the Irish republic is a nice english-language option, with emplyees protected by the EU rules.
    But I am pretty sure you can cope with living in any of the Scandinavian countries, pretty much everyone below 50 can speak english.

  9. birgerjohansson says

    PS I am biased towards my own Sweden, but our nature is boring compared to Norway and we are far from the rest of Europe compared to Denmark.
    Finland? I have no idea. Maybe this is where you can find an ideal job.
    And much less rain than Irland and Britain, a big plus.

  10. llyris says

    The internet is full of women asking the same question, or cracking under the pressure of 24/7 unpaid work hours while their husbands sit around having their evenings and weekends off ‘because he works hard and is tired’, (I know, it’s certainly not all men, but the ones who are happy don’t post online to vent about it) So I guess it’s pretty normal. Work is work even when it’s unpaid.

  11. says

    Dear PZ, you used a word we don’t use and when used by others we laugh at the insanity of it: NORMAL. As the other commenters indicate, the ’40 hour workweek’ was a short-lived ideal achieved by only a few and for a very short time before the greed of rightwing ‘Crapitallism’ destroyed it in wonderful ‘murica. I know that’s not much comfort. But, you have many companions in your weariness. Our organization’s founder worked many 84+ hour weeks. It clearly sounds as if the ‘evil socialist’ nations are much more civilized than here. Hang in there, you make significant positive contributions to our society with your toil and tears and we appreciate that.

  12. birgerjohansson says

    Addendum, about the extra bad situation in the US .
    Mike Pence wants to cut social security!
    He is using the term “privatize”, to avoid the “cut” word but it means the same.

    Among the leading industrialised countries only Britain and USA still have powerful proponents of “neoliberal” economy (Reaganism) in charge, and if you look at things like child mortality and other health data, it shows.