It's a strange thing, being back at work after a couple of weeks off. The only redeeming factor in the whole back to work situation is that everyone is the same boat after being out of the office over the holidays. It's different when you return from a vacation, then you're on your own. You're the only one that feels the holiday blues, you look around the office seeing smug grins on everyones faces and you can tell that they are pleased that you are back from your vacation. They don't have to hear your 'I'm off on holiday soon' conversations any more, as you slump behind your computer, your sun tan fading in the glow of the screen, you bring up the internet browser and head straight for Expedia.
Hey, if there's a flight seat sale on, it would be rude not to book another trip... Right?
This year has been doubly hard for me getting back into the swing of normality. I did the now regretful thing of combining a vacation with Christmas and boy has the return to work hit me hard. I have both post-Christmas blues and post-vaction blues too.
The first day back to work is always OK, you're still quite rested from a fortnight of lie-ins and binge eating and it's good to see everyone again, show off your new clothes you got for Christmas, and catch up with their holiday stories. You (almost) feel motivated for the year ahead.
Then, 2 p.m. hits. You've missed your afternoon nap and things are getting tough. You reach for a double shot of coffee hoping that this can get you through the final three hours of work. By 5 p.m., the office is deserted. We can't hack these 9 hour days any longer, how will we make it through the rest of the year?
Tuesday flies by pretty quickly. You are in a sort of trance, typing away but not really concentrating on the task at hand. You sort of resign yourself to the fact that you have to be at work. You're grateful for having a job in these tough economic times, yes, but you are secretly wishing the snow would start to fall so you can make a swift exit a few hours early.
So, on Wednesday the first thing you find yourself doing when you get into work is hitting the search engines for any last minute breaks, when you come to your senses you go and stand next to the person in the office with the dreadful cold, anything for a few days off work snuggled up under a blanket watching daytime TV.
Now, as I've discovered after living in Canada for nearly a year, Wednesday is classed as 'hump day' (this means something entirely different from what I originally thought!) Hump day is so called because it means you have reached the mid-point of the week, and surely things will get better from here on!
Just a minute I have an email from TravelZoo... Ooh, flights to Vegas from $80... Let me look...
No, STOP! I need to save money, I have no holiday days left at work. I'm stuck with it, so concentrate on that spreadsheet.
By Thursday you're busy planning the weekend.
I'm going to sleep for 48 hours solid...
...Knowing full well that you won't! The main problem with returning to work after the Christmas break is that everyone wants the first week to be relatively easy on them. Clients don't start sending work through until the following week as they too just want to hide away. You begin the countdown to the weekend, and then...
Friday is the day! Everyone will trounce into the office with a little bounce in their step. It's I DON'T CARE FRIDAY! The most precious day of the week, and come 5 p.m... you have a mini vacation of two whole glorious days!
And them on Monday, everything magically is back to normal. Getting up in the morning is slightly easier, the working day doesn't seem as painful...
...You want to know why?
Because it's only 126 days until your next vacation! You can start a new countdown!
For all those in the UK who are enjoying 'snow days' for their first week back, next week will be like this for you... and we'll have all recovered and be back to normal!