You can only imagine your new boss’s eyes jumping right out of his or her head.
A couple of months into your new job, you announce: “Because of my need for work/life balance, I just won’t be coming into the office on Fridays any more.”
You can almost imagine the reaction: “You don’t set the rules here — you knew the terms when you were hired. But sure, take Friday off. Take every day off. Just don’t expect to get paid any more.”
But imagine if you did make the rules: why, you’d have a jammy, high-paid defined benefit pension you didn’t even have to pay the full tab for, free airline travel, office expense accounts, you name it. Heck, you might even have a pony.
And if you were allowed to decide not to work on Fridays, you would.
If you did have that power, you’d call yourself … a parliamentarian.
Because that, apparently, is the trial balloon going around Ottawa right now — no, not the free pony. A House of Commons committee is talking about cancelling Friday sittings in Parliament so that MPs can take the day to fly home to their constituencies.
That little shortened-week bonus is something we’re well familiar with in this province. The Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly stopped sitting on Fridays several years ago for exactly the same reason: so that MHAs could make their way back to their home constituencies.
So ask yourself a question: while the change has probably eased the workload of MHAs somewhat, have you noticed that it has in any way improved the quality of our government or the way it makes decisions? Are well-rested politicos doing a measurably better job for their one less day at the office, but constant pay?
You’d be hard pressed to find even one example of that.
There are plenty of people in the workforce who have to make difficult work/life decisions. There are scores working nightshifts who don’t get to see their kids unless they give up some part of their sleep schedule. There are many more who have to travel to jobs that keep them away for weeks on end. There are many who are on call or who work completely different shifts.
One of the things about that is workers have to stop and consider that sacrifice when they take the job: if you’re a nurse or a firefighter, you know that your hours will not always be the ones you want them to be.
But you know that going in — just the way that everyone who ran for office in the last federal election knew the terms and requirements of the job when they put their names forward.
The only people getting Fridays off?
Those who have the power to vote for it themselves — those who get to make their own rules.
Unless it’s an option that politicians are getting ready to make available to everyone else — by legislation — it isn’t an option they should select from themselves.