In the City, flexi-time, over-time, and part-time don’t seem to exist. Work here even gives a new meaning to the words 'full-time'.
Last week I’d been out guzzling Chardonnay with my friends when I stood up to leave. “I have to get up in less than seven hours I’m going.” It was a Tuesday night. I waited - did anyone else need to be up early? Apparently not. Now I know I’m not a last-man-standing kind of girl, but I didn’t realise I was a first-one-to-leave kind of girl either.
“Does, err, no one else have to leave to get up early in the morning?” I enquired.
“No,” one friend chirped merrily. “I do flexi-time and I worked an extra two hours waiting for you to finish work tonight so tomorrow I’m going in at eleven.”
“Eleven o’clock!” I screeched in a hyena-like-fashion. “That’s practically lunch!"
“I might go to the gym - or...maybe I’ll have a lie in.”
Now I know I’m an accountant, but you don’t need to be a maths whizz to work that one out. An extra two hours in bed, three, perhaps even four? Crikey. No wonder she looks good and I look shattered - permanently. I thought Elizabeth Arden’s eight hour cream was launched in response to a beauty myth that nobody actually adhered to, a bit like eight glasses of water a day. Evidently not.
“In summer I leave at four. Or I can go to the gym in the morning and work ten 'til six.”
After that nugget of information I wanted to jot down my CV on the napkin in front of me so that she could give it to her boss the next day - that was of course, when she rolled in at lunch-time. The next morning I ran around the common dreaming of flexi-time whilst my friend was, in fact, still in bed, just dreaming.
Obviously she doesn’t work in the City. She doesn’t earn Square Mile money, but then again, she’s not on the tube at 6am looking suicidal and she’s not living the City rat-race. Can you really put a price on that?
For now I’m of the opinion that if I was so lucky to be working flexi-hours I wouldn’t have the money to spend in my free time. That’s what I‘m going to keep telling myself anyway. The truth is far too depressing.
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