Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Long hours! Blimey, it wasn't like that in the old days

Spare a thought for our poor old office workers who are working longer and longer hours these days, and even when they get home - at last – there’s still no escape, thanks to the internet and their pricy,
up-to-the-minute mobile phones.
Broadband and phones know nothing about office hours so for them office time is just about synonymous with any time. Modern communications, we are told, mean that people are considered to be constantly available.
The news had me comparing their harassed lives with the way things were not so very long ago – for me, at least.
 Unlike most grandfatherly anecdotes, this is not about to reveal much worse it was back then, with much, much longer hours spent in an office. It’s rather the opposite.

Four days off in a row

I hadn’t long won work sub-editing on Fleet Street, the then London centre for national newspapers, when a four-day week began. Yes, four days a week.
 I am almost certain that we put in less than eight hours on each of those four days. It certainly wasn’t much more.
How amazing were the breaks, the time off, that followed. The first four days would win a day off, and the following four days would get a three-day ‘weekend’, and every short while, won four days off in a row.
Life could probably have remained idyllic in that way for the remainder of my working life. However … yes, now the traditional Grandfather revelation.

The sea in my blood

My ambition was to become a singlehanded Cape Horner, to sail around the world alone, and soon I was off ‘enjoying’ a longer working day every day than I knew existed. Those exceedingly long hours without a break helped me become a solo Cape Horner, and even collect a Guinness Book of Records award.
I didn’t return to the blessed hours of national journalism. The sea in my blood was very evident by now. I attended Nautical College and graduated as a professional yachtsman.
I was soon enjoying – usually enjoying – a very busy working day and night and early morning and kept that way till the end of my working life, as Sailing to Purgatory tells. The hours were very long indeed … Continues on the blogs for my ocean-travel adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory, at SailingToPurgatory.com


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