WORK/LIFE BALANCE

During the first couple of weeks at work I discovered two of my co-workers have an interesting arrangement with the studio. These guys only work four days of the week. They work normal hours on those days so they are making 80% of their normal salary. It’s probably not a coincidence that both of them are fathers to young children.

When I first found out about this, I had several thoughts. First, I was really happy to see that the studio was accepting of flexible working arrangements like this. They could have said no and I am sure in the stone-age days of the 1950s, a man asking to only work four days a week so that they could tend to their children would have been laughed at. Second, I was instantly a bit envious of my co-workers. Having a four-day work week definitely has its benefits.

Now, I do understand it’s not a trivial thing to take a 20% pay cut. How many of us could afford to do so? Is that extra time off worth the amount of money you are giving up? For some people, such a thing just could not be a viable option. We’d all like to only work four days a week but that’s a lot of money to give up. I am guessing though, for these guys, the ability to spend more time with their kids is priceless.

On a personal level, I quickly asked myself if I could live with 20% less salary. Well, I didn’t have to think too hard about that because sometime in the last four years, I was making about 18% less than what I’m making now. I want to point out that I didn’t get a huge pay raise with my current job. It’s just that one of the jobs I took in the last four years didn’t pay as much as I was used to. I don’t hold any ill will towards that company because that’s all the money they had to pay me. Anyways, so did my lifestyle change drastically when I was at that job? Not in the least. I was still able to pay my mortgage, I went on a vacation, and I didn’t eat instant noodles every night. So if I magically made 20% less tomorrow, there would be no change in the way I lived my life. The only difference would be my bank account wouldn’t get as big at each paycheque.

At least for me, it would really just boil to down to the question of, how valuable would that extra day off be? Well, I have to admit, I value time off quite a bit. Every long weekend that comes along leaves me feeling really refreshed and re-energized. I can just imagine how great it would be to know that every week gave you that extra day to either rest, attend to personal errands, or hell, even take a quick trick somewhere. My approach is from someone who doesn’t have kids but I’m sure a parent could appreciate the extra day in their own way.

I don’t think I’ll be asking my employer to alter my contract any time soon but the fact that this is even possible has me wondering about how great this could be.

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