The Working Class

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The Problem

The prospect of returning to work after the holiday break is like walking into an air conditioned room from the Mojave Dessert, it’s rather shocking, and might I add damaging to your immune system.

But then again if I catch a cold I’d be forced to stay home? Bahaha

“I’m so inspired after the holidays,” said no one ever.

Worse, if you made an absolute ass out of yourself at the annual Christmas party, and your return to the office calls for amends, abject humiliation, tail between your leg sort of reentry, I think I’d rather lick sandpaper.

Truth be told the intemperance of the holidays can be life threatening. It is not possible to overindulge in rich foods, fine wines, and endless rounds of entertainment while convincing yourself that none of this is wreaking havoc with your cholesterol, blood pressure, and body mass. “I’m gonna live forever, I’m gonna learn how to fly, high, I feel it comin’ together…,” not.

But I am willing to be the first human ginny pig, anything that will add to our scientific knowledge of immoderate behavior, I’m what you call a giver.

Those who know me well know I’m not big on change. Of any kind.

In fact it’s rare for me to change the radio station in my car, adjust weekly menus, update my wardrobe, change my hairstyle, find a new job, switch up friends, or mates for that matter. In fact I’m opposed to disrupting the dust on the coffee table in the living. It’s unsettling.

I know Napoleon Hill said, “Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.’’ I say wait, the time will never be just right. It’s called passivity and I’m all about it.

So this is my attempt to ease your transition from sloth to sleuth with the least amount of suffering and sacrifice on what many feel is the absolute worst day of the New Year. Here’s to going back to work in style.

The Solution

1. Ease back into work

Did you know that a sloth creeps at such a slow pace that algae actually grows on its fur? I agree that’s more of a skill than a characteristic, but consider this when returning to your daily grind, there’s no need to rush back in as if you’re indispensable. Your’e not!

Ease back in, it’s not a race, it’s a predicament. “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work,” says Thomas Edison. I say good, don’t let the door hit you on the ass on your way out opportunity. We have to be sensible.

  • Set your alarm a little early so you can extend your morning coffee routine, an hour or two seems reasonable.
  • If you’re not there on time at least you’re there.
  • Pack up some of that leftover caviar and honey baked ham for lunch, and while you’re add it, tuck in a cloth napkin, and china for ambiance. Co-worker envy much?
  • Staying late won’t earn you any brownie points, leave early, and rendezvous with your significant other (or your office mates) at the local wine bar. Here’s to the working class!
  • By day three you’ll need to set up a pedicure, or better yet, a deep tissue massage. This is what you call maturity and dealing with stress in a responsible manner.
  • Keep an Airpod in one ear at all times as a form of dissension, you can stream a little Johnny Paycheck.
2. Plan a killer weekend

You have accomplished a great feat in drumming up the courage to go back to work after a wonderful and drawn out vacation. You deserve a reward of some sort. Right? I am a firm believer in the magic of weekends (which is simply two days off in a row).

Having something to look forward to all week is miraculous, it elevates ones serotonin levels, gives one something to smile about, a tidbit to bait your interest throughout the week. Think catnip. 

Keep an overnight bag handy, with the basics packed (clean underwear, toothbrush, book, warm socks), so you’re ready in a moments notice. I don’t care if you’re glamping, staying at a five star resort, the family cabin, or vacationing at home. Make it happen. 

  • Your weekend must include a meal out, a good book, adult beverages, unscheduled time, and lots of rest. You can drink water but please don’t be obsessive about it.
  • If you like to write, than write. If you’re a project kind a guy, dive in. If you’re a granola and yoga eccentric, bring one of those spongy mats. But if you like to Netflix and Chill please consider inviting me for your next get-away?
  • If you’re the type that likes to socialize (they are rare, but they’re out there) then go to a rooftop bar and chat it up with the guests, but don’t weigh yourself down with social obligations, dinner arrangements, or 12 rounds of Mexican Train with the neighbors. This is supposed to be relaxing.
  • Remember happiness and joy love the company of low expectations.
  • For goodness sakes – No alarms, it’s shocking enough to wake up and realize you’re not living in some chaotic dream, slowly adjust to the reality in which you live. Maybe go back to sleep?
3. Refrain from making resolutions or lists

I’m also not big on resolutions (link here in case you missed it) because they make me feel bad. I have enough to worry about without wrapping resolutions around my ankles as if a ball and chain. I think we can be a little more spontaneous, in the moment kind of people, and still accomplish miraculous things in the New Year. Or not.

  • Avoid making lists of to do, to buy, to return, to pay, to resolve…you get the picture. They just chase you around like a rabid dog, bite you, and then you die while foaming at the mouth. We don’t have time for that.
  • Refuse to join one of those crazy Fitbit teams at work. You know the type, they’re so competitive. You practically kill yourself keeping up with some impossible daily step count for a coffee mug with the office logo. See, I did this once, and ended up throwing the damn Fitbit in the dryer when my count was mortifyingly low, I even put it on the dog, and tried to get him to fetch for an hour. Total disaster. I ended up paying Dante to walk to his cousins house (18 miles round trip) with my bracelet on. I know, I’m so ashamed, let’s move on.
  • This is why I don’t recommend resolutions it makes good people do bad things. Have you heard of the Milgrim experiments? Yeah, that.
  • You can be a high achiever, a team player, a leader in your community any old day, today is not one of them, tomorrow doesn’t look good either.

The Conclusion

This is not rocket science, it’s common sense, and if you must know it’s backed by years of scientific research. Not. I just wrote that because these are my delusions and I’m inviting you in. Or maybe it was the bumper sticker I saw on my way to work that said “I don’t want part-time people in my life.” What the hell does that mean?

Here’s the real deal, the secret to keeping your sanity upon returning to work after an extended vacation is a delicate triage of slothing, renouncing, and refraining. Returning from holiday does not mean putting in extra hours as punishment for having a little fun, that’s so Puritan, and if you missed it they got run out of town. As Sam Ewing says, “Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.” Show up, smile, remember you’ve got a killer weekend planned.

And after all, tomorrow is another day…

I’m Living in the Gap, drop by anytime, I’ll be up at the lake watching the time pass.

Anecdotes:

  • “Embrace dysfunction” this one helps in the workplace!”― Rick Hein
  • “I think the worst sort of time travel is how the clock speeds up when I’m on my break.”― Joyce Rachelle
  • I’m very much in the trenches, and I don’t live in the lap of luxury. I come from a working-class family. We watch the news and read the paper and vote, so there’s always something to be upset about. I always have a certain amount of angst in my back pocket. – Pink 

21 Comments

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    1. Hi Barbara! It sounds like you have stepped over the magical barrier and might be retired, maybe a full time writer, or work independently? Regardless, what a pleasure it must be to avoid the return! Hope this gave you a giggle or two. All my best, Cheryl

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  1. I’m definitely breaking some of these rules – I love New Years resolutions and challenges 😂 – but I like the suggestion to get up earlier and enjoy your morning routine. I HAVE to get up before my kids for a little “me” time reading or I am a total grump ALL DAY!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good morning Serena! It’s about 6:45 am, I’m enjoying a longer coffee, maybe you’re up too enjoying a little time to yourself! How inspiring that you challenge yourself with New Years resolutions! Love to hear what you’re up to this year? Thanks for the comment. All my best, Cheryl

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  2. This is GREAT! I agree that you need to ease your way back into work after the excitement of the holidays and new year. Having a routine that allows you to flow effortlessly back into the day to day activities and the office culture makes things a little less hectic and a little more bearable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Julie, I agree, easing back into things makes a lot of sense. It’s Monday and even though I wish I could extend the weekend it’s fun to see my wonderful students and co-workers! I suppose we have to focus on the good and forget the rest. Thanks for your comment! All my best, Cheryl

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  3. You almost described me to the ‘T’ when describing how you don’t like change! My transition back to work is a lot smoother since I work from home! It’s such a blessing!!! No traffic or fake conversations with co-workers! 🙂

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    1. Sandra you are so lucky to work from home! I’ll get there someday but right now I divide my time between work and writing! I have to admit I love my job teaching, my students are spectacular, and I will miss them when I retire! Thanks for the comment! C

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