‘How was your weekend?’ Don’t ask…

You saw it yesterday at your office or wherever you work. Maybe you even said it. People walk in the day after a long weekend all smiley and bubbly asking each other how their long weekends went. Interactions are bubbly and all about ‘Well, we went to the lake’, or ‘we visited family out of town,’ etc.

Those of us in news reporting often aren’t as fortunate. We don’t get days off in the way that many other full time workers will. Regardless of whether a certain day is a stat holiday or not, there’s still the paper and the requisite news hole to full.  So the news staff and myself aren’t quite getting the same holiday, with either working all days or part of most days enough that any plans are effectively useless.

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And there are a lot of good things about that, don’t get me wrong. Being involved in the community this way is quite honestly the only way I know how to live and work and this concept of three days off in a row is something I’ve never really enjoyed since joining the weekly newspaper industry.  

I worked with someone years ago whose view on it was simple: I could count the hours and use the overtime or time in lieu on my own holidays, but that just means someone else in a small newsroom likely has to work overtime to fill the absence and where does that get anyone in a workplace other than a small bit of resentment that ends up building through the years? I sometimes wonder about that level of unreported overtime that is quietly keeping workplaces glued together better.

The other thing I get a lot of questions about is if I saw the (insert sports team here) game last night or if I had any reasonable opinion on the latest (insert hot button sports issue here) news. Often I’ll have seen highlights, read a bit of the chatter and I have enough experience to glean what I need to from that in order to form what I believe is a fairly informed opinion. It’s rare when I can actually watch a full quarter of Rider football, or more than a period of the Maple Leafs game because it’s often sandwiched in between other commitments, work or otherwise.

If you really think about it, it’s an odd idea to many that other people’s leisure time, or their time teaching their kids sports and skills, is when I punch the figurative clock for the working day, but again, it’s the only way I know how to be. It’s certainly the way it’ll be for me or anyone in this position at a newspaper as long as most events are on weekends.    

But don’t ask me how my long weekend went, or if I saw the Rider game, or how that trade of NHL third liners is going to affect your hockey pool. I’ve never even been to the new Mosaic Stadium in Regina and with it costing as much as it does, I’m not sure I could fully enjoy it as much as I did the $110 season ticket I had in the old university section in 1996 at old Taylor Field. Also, do they have any Wednesday or Thursday regular season games? Because that’s my weekend. 

I can’t honestly remember the last time I would have watched a full CFL, NHL or NFL game. I was trying to explain to someone recently that a certain place used to be where we’d watch NFL football on Monday nights and down schooners of beer but even the concept didn’t quite fit anymore. I can’t imagine having that amount of free time on a Monday to do that, let alone spend the kind of money we used to (even with food and drink specials). As I graduated from the news side into the much friendlier sports side years ago this is one of the sacrifices needed in order to make the transition. It’s made willingly and joyously because I love what I do.

For those of you who were fortunate enough to have and enjoy a long weekend a couple of days ago, continue to do so. It’s a privilege earned through many of the gains made for working people.

If you didn’t get a long weekend recently for whatever reason, I feel for you and maybe one of these Wednesday afternoons, we’ll be able to sit down and have a coffee or something.  

© Copyright Estevan Mercury


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