Why Weekend Work Doesn't Work

Bob Goldman on

Your manager may not care if you're happy, but somebody does.

It's The Washington Post. Why else would they publish articles, like "To boost happiness, treat your weekend like a vacation" by Tara Parker-Pope?

I hope the idea of blissful weekends brings joy to the Washington Posties, because it sure isn't my concept of a happy work life. If you want to be happy, it isn't the weekend you should treat as a vacation; it's the workweek. I'm sure you agree. Having a beach day at the office and getting paid for it: that's happiness.

Of course, if you are one of the poor unfortunates who actually has to work at work, Parker-Pope's article may be more appealing than appalling. And she does have an interesting experiment to back her up.

In 2020, before an unexceptional weekend in spring, researchers at the UCLA Anderson School of Management gave one-half of a group of 441 workers this six-word instruction: "Treat this weekend like a vacation."

The other half received no such direction. They were left to do their to-do lists, whether that included spackling the dog, wallpapering the children or just couch surfing for two blissfully lazy days. (Yes, I know that dividing a group of 441 people in half leaves one extra person. Maybe the leftover treated Saturday as a vacation day and Sunday as a not-a-vacation day. Or maybe they spent the entire weekend in bed. You could hardly blame them.)


The results of the experiment were striking.

"When people returned to work Monday," Parker-Pope writes, "those who spent the weekend like vacationers reported more happiness, less negativity and more satisfaction than those who approached the weekend like they always did."

While the happiness quotient of the vacationers does sound positive, it's actually quite risky. Arriving at work on a Monday, floating on a cloud of joy, weakens your natural defense mechanisms, leaving you vulnerable to feral managers ready to wipe your happy face off the org chart at the drop of a deadline. As a non-vacationer, you would arrive Monday bursting with paranoia and resentment, as usual; these vital workplace defense systems protect you from potential threats to your continuing employment.

Want to test the weekend vacation concept for yourself? A six-word mantra won't cut it. Here are five steps sure to put yourself in vacation mode when Friday rolls around.


swipe to next page

Copyright 2023 Creators Syndicate, Inc.




Baby Blues The Other Coast John Cole Monte Wolverton Phil Hands Loose Parts