It’s been a looooooooooong day, always, ain’t that right…

Today was a long day at the office.  About a 12 hour day, which used to be the average for me in my prior work life.  But here?  Its been 8:30-5:30 on the dot.  This was the latest I have worked in 1.5 years.  And I left at about 8.

The hours I have here would have been laughable to me at EY.  I remember my first day in DC, I asked what the hours were, just so I could know what to expect, and they were 9-7 on a good day.  A good day.  It didn’t take long to get used to that because leaving at 7 was a treat.  Most days were 8, 9, 10…or later, depending on what the client wanted.  This is where I developed a distaste for being in the client serving world.  What the client wants, the client gets.  Even if that meant us sitting around piddling our thumbs because we had to maintain a presence at the client site until a certain time in the evening.  We had to at least look like we were working.  This is more frustrating that you think. 

But, sometimes we worked late because there was actually work to do.  Surprise!  I remember it being a bad sign when a meeting was called around 7 or 8, just as we were waiting to be excused, and a request came up.  It was even worse when they were giving us time to go home, change and come back.  Thats when work would go into the wee hours of the morning.

And then many a night on Nortel, twenty of us would sit in a small conference room huddled shoulder to shoulder around a table staring intently at our tiny laptops.  I could lean 2 inches to the right and have a full view of my neighbors screen.  Unless they had a privacy screen.  God Bless the privacy screen.  I remember usually hitting a wall about 8 and not having the motivation to keep working.  Was it because I had already been there 12 hours?  Or that reviewing contracts is extremely boring stuff?  Or, maybe it was because the client didn’t really believe in working past 7 (more like 5) and so at that time every night the lights would automatically shut off.  And we’d work in the dark.  The only light coming from our laptop screens.  The sound of furious typing would then ensue, all of us IMing each other from across the table about how pissed we were to still be there.  We hadn’t been “released” yet.  Then at about 9, the decision would be made to either keep working or order dinner.  Even though I’d stopped working and started surfing sometime between 7 and 8, I was still there.  Maintaining a presence to no one.  And the fact that an hour commute home awaited me, only made me more jazzed to be there.

So, I really can’t complain because the hours here are cake.  One time Jamila and I were returning to Nortel from lunch around 2ish and as we were passing the security guard, a Nortel employee was leaving and said to him “goodnight”.  Goodnight?  It was 2pm!  We used to dream everyday about having a normal job where we could roll out at 5 and hit the gym.  Well, 5:30 is close to 5, so I guess I can’t complain.  I am now livin’ the dream.  The only thing is, when I roll out of here I won’t be rolling into the Oceanaire, Legal Seafoods, or Smith & Wollensky’s for a 75+ dollar meal that I get to enjoy for free.