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Working Nine to Five (No Longer)

The days of working Monday through Friday, nine to five are over, whether some of the “old guard” want to admit or not.

I think that one of the hardest things that many of my colleagues (many of them older) have had to deal with is that the new generation of workers flooding out of colleges are not the traditional sort. We don’t want to work our eight hour days and then forget about the office. And this is not because of some masochistic work-a-holic tendency either. We are not lazy; we want to pay our dues, we just do it differently and the opportunities opened up to us via social media allow us to work more on our own terms.

For instance, rather than being bound to a desk or a landline phone, I take my work with me. I put in the hours when I am well rested and more efficient, making my productivity higher. Unfortunately those hours often do not fall between the traditional eight hour office day.

I also am continually trying to further educate myself, which means that I am still in school and even when I am not, I look around for seminars and workshops that will help me do what I do, better. Well as many of you might know, going to school and working full time often don’t mix. You tend to get pushed into late evening classes or disregarded at work. I’ve even had it implied that my education is interfering with my work simply because my co-workers don’t see my happy shining face behind my desk each day promptly at 8 a.m.

To heck with that. I register for my classes, the good ones, during peak times (in a responsible manner of course) getting most on the same day, which means that I do end up out of the office at least one day a week.

Well, no offense, but I do not believe it is necessary any longer to put in eight straight hours a day, five days a week in order to qualify that you have a career. Sometimes I think I got more respect working as a bartender than I do now in a “respectable” agency environment. It’s no wonder so many of us have become entrepreneurs, working on our own time-tables.

I’ve been told that I tend to march to the beat of my own drummer, and that is fine with me. I come in early on days when I don’t have class and stay late as well. When I have class or when I feel like eating breakfast with the kids I come in a little later. If I am feeling especially sluggish in the afternoon I may take off for the afternoon but then get cranked back up around 10 p.m. I’ve even been known to take a day off during the week and then come in on a weekend. Sound crazy? Maybe, but the point is I get my work (and then some) done and receive no complaints about the quality (or the quantity).

So my point is this. I work when I work and I refuse to be boxed in by a ridiculously outdated stereotype. I always have my blackberry, so I’m never really out of touch anyways. The kind of work I do could be (in truth) done from just about any location with WiFi so I am thinking that maybe they should be glad I am not sitting in a beach side bar and grill sipping a cold beer and phoning it in.

Our generation gets that ideas and inspiration come at all times of day and night and that if you wait until that clock reads 9 a.m., you could lose that spark. Don’t become obsessed with work, but work around your schedule and your life, rather than the machine. Studies show that happy workers are more productive anyhow so maybe the old guard should take a lesson from us and take off to go fishing around 3 p.m. some beautiful Tuesday afternoon. It could totally change their perspective.