If you’re like me and grew up in India, you’re very aware of the differences in work, people and culture. Sometimes I can’t quite articulate them or put my finger on it, but then there are those I can write about – like my introduction to the great Australian weekend!
When I started work here in Australia, I was astonished at how everyone lives for weekends. That’s probably because they actually exist here. This wonderful sacrosanct Australian weekend (that sometimes starts as early as 3.30 pm on Friday) lasts a whole two days!
No, it’s not the same everywhere. In many countries chances are, if you don’t work with a multinational IT company then you most likely work a 6 day week and sometimes Sundays as well.
Here in Australia, thankfully, there are no longer those Friday night “let’s re-cap the week” meetings. No more waiting at the newspaper agency at the crack of dawn with clients wanting weekend coverage updates by 6.45 am. My only escape was to switch off the mobile or pretend I was visiting a back of beyond village without network coverage!
In India, I knew gleeful weekend enthusiasm on Fridays was not a recipe for promotion! The diligent ones worked till 7.30 pm on Fridays and took work home so that they were ‘ready’ for Monday morning. If you didn’t, you were the ‘lazy one’ and all those over-achieving Sunday workers marched ahead of you.
Instead, here, matey co-worker, you must exhibit appropriate ‘weekend symptoms’! Do discuss the wonderful weekend you had on Monday morning. Yes, Tuesday is totally blah, neither here nor there and then thankfully… you’re over the Wednesday hump! You can look perky on Friday like my fellow lift occupants and colleagues and cheerfully say “Happy Friday”.
With the great Australian weekend I have recovered my space and a place where ‘work-life balance’ is more than a nicely framed HR poster on a wall.