Rest May Be Productive (And Healthy), But I Earn Nothing Doing It

Over the past few years, I’ve observed a pattern in the way that I work and rest. Well, I’ve noticed a lot of patterns, but there is one in particular that I’ve been exploring more explicitly lately and want to write about today. When I have a lot to do and I’m either too stressed to do it or know I’ll need some extra time to get everything done, I take Fridays off of work. Even if it isn’t a personal vacation day but a federal holiday in the US, Friday days-off are always for being productive, getting things done, and making sure I’m prepared for whatever work needs doing. If I need to rest, if I need to actually recuperate, recover, and relax, I need a Monday without work. Mondays aren’t for rest in the same way that Fridays are for productivity, but they mean that I can spend my normal resting day (Sunday) without worrying about being ready for work the next day or combatting the urge to be productive.

Unfortunately, I haven’t figured out why this is the case, given that both are versions of three-day weekends that should more or less have the same result even if my day of primary rest changes. I suspect it has to do with my base-level conceptualization of how a week is ordered. Weekends are for doing my own things (which once meant creative projects and now means the labor of maintaining life as an Adult in the US) and the start of a new week is for returning to work. If I had an extra day at the end of the week, then that just means there’s more that I can get done. If I have a day off at the beginning of a week, that means I get to put off my return to work even longer. It is more of a day outside of time than a Friday is. Of course, this last thought could be because I spent a lot of last year doing four 10-hour days in a row so I didn’t need to work on Fridays and I’ve taken plenty of Fridays off this year already, mostly to get things done around my apartment.

Currently, I’m burning the candle at both ends because I could use the money that overtime affords me. My situation isn’t dire, thankfully. I’ve recovered from last fall’s unexpected financial drains, but I’m trying to avoid getting into the same situation again. Since my employer is no-longer limiting overtime work again (and needs as much time as I’ll give them), I’m finally back to my old grind and hoping that I can keep it up long enough to get myself enough money to pay off some debts early. It would be nicer if student loans were forgiven, of course, but I need to get out from under this debt trap one way or another if I’m ever going to do anything with my life other than drift from apartment to apartment in this town since I’m currently probably at one of my highest income-to-cost-of-living ratios I’m going to ever get.

Software testers aren’t typically paid super well in most industries (especially compared to our software developer counterparts). Those that do get paid well are frequently overworked, underappreciated, treated like shit, and locked in a situation where they’d probably be making more in a situation like my current one (that pays overtime). I technically got paid more based on 40-hour work weeks at my last job, but even taking a four dollar per hour pay cut moving to my current job didn’t impact my yearly income because working the same number of hours meant my overtime covered the difference.

I’d love to take more rests, to work fewer Mondays so I could maybe feel better rested, but I really can’t afford it right now. I need to be ready for whatever urgent problem, minor emergency, or unthinkable/unfathomable disaster comes next. Given the state of the world, it’s difficult to not expect something horrible around every corner these days.

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