Working the Weekend

A moment out of time.

I’m suddenly working a Sunday on short notice. This is a 10 hour shift; basically a regular work day. All weekend plans are out the window. There are last minute changes to an episode before it goes back to the network. The network gets to review each episode several times before it goes to air, since they’re paying the bills.

This is not entirely terrible. A “sixth day” pays time-and-a-half. The break in routine feels purposeful: a change but still something familiar. A touch of excitement. It will get tougher later in the week from the missed day of rest followed by a six day stretch.

There is a slight sense of unreality. I don’t remember if the longest stretch I’ve worked straight was 19 or 20 days, but that gets surreal. There is a contractual penalty for working us more than 21 days straight, so that tends not to happen. After you work through a couple of weekends, time ceases to have meaning. Whoever came up with the seven day week with the mandatory day of rest knew what they were doing. You need the rhythm and the breaks.

It’s an interesting exercise to manage yourself across a period of time. We don’t often think of that, so there’s a tendency to act as though each day exists in and of itself. But the cycles of work and rest matter. Putting in extra time takes a toll. Missing sleep takes a toll. After a while you have to pace yourself differently and eventually it all becomes a blur if it gets out of hand.

I need to avoid another burn out.

It can be difficult to be aware of these long term factors and manage them. I don’t know exactly how I burned myself out in 2019-2020, or how long it will take to get back to full capacity. Maybe it was unavoidable? I need to be more careful.

For now, one extra day of work is a bit of a novelty, and the boost in the paycheck won’t hurt.


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