We are the “after work” generation.
I was with a friend at Valentine’s Day dinner and she inquired about the latest happenings of my life. What I noticed was that Monday- Friday was jam packed but I reserved Saturday/Sunday–“The Weekend” to do absolutely nothing. We both laughed at the backwardness of my schedule but realized that is has become the norm for us single in the city 20-30 somethings.
The question is always, “What are you doing after work?” Every bar/restaurant has a “Happy Hour” that contrary to its name lasts for way longer than 1 hour. People plan full scale social events for weekday nights. By the time we get to Saturday, we are pooped. We spend that time catching up on sleep, exercise, grown-up household duties, work we didn’t finish while in the office, and low key friend fun, or personal time to just breathe.
Going home at 5 is a rarity and with the invention of DVR, Hulu+, Netflix, and reruns for the Bravo crew, it almost seems unnecessary to do so. We need something to look forward to when the clock strikes 5. It actually becomes an excuse so that we don’t stay any later at the office than we need to, “I have plans.” There exists a desire to have a goal or a game plan after a day of running the professional rat race. Plus, who actually wants to go home alone, again. We gotta put ourselves out there, right? Our walk to the parking garage becomes a stride of pride as we make our way to the nearest $2.00 rails and 1/2 off small plates. We’ve made it through another day and to celebrate we need to show others while wearing our “work clothes” that we’re champs. Let’s blow this popsicle stand that pays off our student loans. Life’s too short to take all of our awesomeness home at 5pm. Let’s feed the local economy and our egos at the same time. Let’s let off some steam and commiserate with our friends. Let’s invite folks we don’t know to an innocent happy hour. I mean, we can hold a conversation with almost anyone over one drink, right?
Next week alone I have the following: dinner with a co-worker/friend followed by a lecture by Melissa Harris Perry on Monday, drinks and my first hockey game on Tuesday, a session on Conference Placement Etiquette on Wednesday, student meetings on Thursday night, and a date night with a friend on Friday night. Saturday morning, I go out of town until Sunday evening and then I start all over again. If it wasn’t for that brief trip to Clemson University, you can bet I’d be on the couch catching up on primetime television.
I guess I should enjoy this “after work” life for as long as I can. Should I ever acquire any dependents, I can 100% guarantee that “after work” will have a totally different meaning. For right now, bring on the happy hours, the too long dinners, and the Nashville networking circuit. I’m game but I’m actually not free after work again until the 2nd week of March…
So, what are you doing after work this week?