PAPER QUIPS: Working Monday to Friday for the first time

wwjarchitecture editor Patrick Davies reflects on his past jobs and their hours
wwjarchitecture editor Patrick Davies on his first day of working a houseman at Pine Bungalows in Jasper in the summer of 2017. (Patrick Davies photo)

I realized last week I’ve never really worked a Monday to Friday job, until now.

Recently I moved from working Tuesdays to Saturdays, which I’ve done since I came to work in British Columbia, to Mondays to Fridays so that the editor is always in the office when people come knocking. While it’s been a bit of an adjustment it has made me reflect on the last 13 years of jobs I’ve had and their hours.

I got my first job around 13 at Michener Allen Auctioneering near Edmonton. To be honest, I can’t even recall its title now, but every month when the auction house held an auction I’d go for four to six hours to work running bill of sales between the auctioneer and the main office. It wasn’t a bad gig but it wasn’t exactly a nine to five.

My first part-time job was at the local Sobeys and later Co-Op once my store was sold to avoid a monopoly. There I worked two to three times a week doing three to five-hour shifts as a courtesy clerk and cashier.

I used to dread my 5 to 10 p.m. shifts and over the years, as many teenage employees do, I found inventive ways to spend that time. Whether it was listening to music while cleaning the bathrooms or talking in an Irish accent when ringing people through the checkout, I did my best to have fun there.

After several years of working at the grocery store, barring a brief stint working at Chapel Hats in the West Edmonton Mall for a summer, I started looking for new work during my Grade 11 year. I found it at the Callingwood Bottle Depot which gave me more regular hours and the first of my eight-hour shifts.

Working at the depot, usually on the weekends, came with benefits and drawbacks.

On the plus side, we were practically always busy with a line of people stretching out the door with bags of recyclables. My job as a bottle counter meant all I had to do was count and dump bottles into their bags over and over again.

Now of course this job didn’t really provide ear and sometimes eye protection as young Patrick and his colleagues spent hours dumping bottles into giant bags and listening to them shatter. The smell, meanwhile, was atrocious because let me tell you most people do NOT bother to rinse their recyclables out.

During my college years, I got my first real taste of working five days a week at Jasper’s Pine Bungalows for a summer. While my schedule varied from week to week I was working roughly five days a week, eight hours a day though sometimes our boss would just send us home early when he ran out of stuff for us to do.

In my second year at the Southern Albertan Institute of Technology, I worked as a community assistant for SAIT Residence, a sweet gig. All I had to do was organize monthly events for my fellow residents and be on call a few nights a week. Somedays I’d spend my entire ‘shift’ playing X-Box and sleeping. Other times I’d be spending the night wet vaccing up water from a burst pipe or telling a shirtless guy with a dislocated arm he couldn’t just crawl into someone else’s room.

Then of course as a journalist, I’ve worked five days a week, Tuesdays to Saturdays, for six years now. My hours tend to be flexible so I can cover community events which I honestly prefer. Getting the chance to attend races, hockey games, live theatre and other events is a pretty fun way to clock time at the office.

As I settle into the role of editor, it’s strange that my weekends are actually weekends now but it’s a nice change. While it might mean I can’t take care of certain business on Mondays, it does mean weekend getaways are now feasible. So here’s to working Monday to Friday!

Patrick Davies

About the Author: Patrick Davies

An avid lover of theatre, media, and the arts in all its forms, I've enjoyed building my professional reputation in wwjarchitecture.
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