You hear this frequently in the tourism industry. Particularly during the week, because tourism is not a Monday-through- Friday type occupation.
At SeaWorld, when someone said “Today’s my Friday,” it meant they were getting ready to celebrate the end of a busy week – especially in the summer when the majority of park employees worked each weekend.
Friday conjures up visions of wrapping up the week, cleaning up the desk or work area, and preparing for two days of freedom. In the old days, this included forwarding your phone, handing in paperwork or keys, turning out the lights and locking up. In one of my office sojourns, we were expected to clean our desks every Friday afternoon – literally – get out the polish and go to town.
Of course, that was when people took two days off. And the two days people universally took off were Saturday and Sunday. This was, of course, before pagers, cell phones and nonstop media. When I was really young, in the dinosaur age, this meant that all the stores were closed on Sundays too.
Friday as the final day of the workweek is dead. It doesn’t mean what it used to be when we are tethered to our smart phones, use DVR instead of live TV, and the ephemera of work oozes into our personal lives. Gone are the days when someone rang a bell at an appointed hour and everyone left for the day. It was a ritual, and rigid as it was, you knew what you were supposed to do.
But rather than mourn the loss of the traditional weekend, I prefer to celebrate the more flexible work week we have today. Let’s call it the concept of” Friday-ness.”
Now Friday is whenever you (or your employer) say it is. It’s the concept of finishing a busy week, whether you finish Monday at 2 or Saturday at 11, and turning to whatever leisure pursuits you desire. While we may still be using our mobile devices, to check in with work or with Facebook, we have more flexibility in our work/life balance than other generations. Like my grandmother, who would fake the flu once a year so she could get her carpets cleaned.
So rather than mourn the loss of the ironclad weekend, I think we should celebrate the concept of Friday – the state of mind instead of an actual day of the week. Now we get to create a new set of rituals to define it. What will be your “It’s my Friday” ritual?