By Raoul Suarez

It’s just another Friday at work for someone in the middle-income bracket. I sat there staring blankly at the clock and listening to it tick. Just another quarter of an hour and it will be the weekend soon. The long-awaited weekend is there every week, but we always crave it. We all do. I packed all my things early. I usually do that every Friday. It has become a habit. There wasn’t always enough time to take a breath of fresh air. Well, except for Fridays. It isn’t as hectic as the other days. The meetings start on a Monday and never stop until Thursday. Not a lot of meetings on a Friday. Very rare actually. There should have been one today but I rescheduled it on purpose. Nobody complained. Just a quarter of an hour to go and I will be living out another weekend.

This is my life. This has been my life for decades on end. Living payday after payday and weekend after weekend. That’s how it’s supposed to go anyway. We spend half of our lives in school and the other half paying the bills. Some people are not lucky enough to land a job that can pay the bills and have some extras left to buy themselves a bottle or two of ice-cold beer, or be able to treat themselves to a nice day at the spa.

It’s just another Friday at work for someone in the middle-income bracket. I was typing in some notes and I reviewed my calendar. I usually do that before I leave for work. Plan. Lead. Organize. Staff. Control. These things I have learned in my Management classes way back when I was in college are starting to come into play. It has been quite helpful. I have also become adept at doing my time blocks and filling up my time quadrants from 1 to 4. It is always efficient to do it that way. I think we all have to know these four things in this sequence: urgent and important, urgent but not important, important but not urgent, and not urgent and not important. I have tried teaching that to the other employees but they don’t really have a care in the world. Typical rank-and-file mentality. Just plain drifters. I think people should take the time to learn a new skill even for just an hour a day. The internet has short courses anyway. It won’t hurt to learn something useful that can be applied to the job and improve outputs. Some people are just lazy though and I am starting to believe that Theory X is right. Work is distasteful to most people, and they will attempt to avoid work whenever possible. Most people are not ambitious, have little desire for responsibility, and they just prefer to be directed. Yes. It should be true in this case and from what I have observed.

I was in the middle of typing in my notes when I noticed that something was wrong. Strangely enough, my finger had a white mark that I have never really seen before. Weird. Now I remember. I used to have a wedding ring. I asked myself and wondered how could I even have the time for marriage with so much work. A manager needs focus. A whole lot of focus. Keeping the job was the most important thing. People depend on you for their daily bread and people need to get paid for the work they put in. I didn’t really see my marriage fall apart. In fact, I didn’t even see my marriage. I don’t have recollections of what it was like. I remember having a picture of my children on my desk but I don’t know where it went. I just can’t remember anything anymore. I was not able to see my life go by. I was too preoccupied with work. Too caught up with the hustle. Too caught up with the grind. I don’t regret it much. There is always work to do and nobody can do it better than I can.

It’s just another Friday at work for someone in the middle-income bracket. I tried to look outside. It would have been nice to see what was going on outside of the office but there were things to do. I laughed at the thought and scratched my head. How can I be stupid? There was no outside. No. Nothing. There’s just a fake window and a picture of a small house in the woods. Real windows can be a bother anyway. A working man does not need these distractions. I rescheduled all meetings for Monday to a Tuesday. I’ll be spending time checking on the inventory this Monday anyway. The string of meetings on a day-to-day basis have been taking a toll on my body. I should try to think about my well-being once in a while. Yes. I should spend more time taking care of myself. I decided to leave the building. Everyone was staring at me. I waved them goodbye and nobody waved back. It seems a little odd but I don’t really care.

As I was pacing though the hallway, I thought to myself that rearranging the meetings was not very smart at all. Things might pile up again and I’d have problems trying to manage the time. I should worry about it on a Monday. It’s another weekend and I should be doing what I would normally do on weekends. It dawned upon me, though, that I can’t remember what I do on weekends. There must be something that I do. Something that normal people like me would do. I can’t really remember. I don’t remember much outside of work. I can only remember work. I can’t remember anything else aside from work. I tried to stay calm as I walked to the exit. What did I do yesterday anyway? I can’t remember too. Did I go out? Did I eat my lunch? What did I even have for lunch? No recollection.

I hurried to the exit and had a small talk with the old security guard. He has been here for the longest time and I can’t even remember his name. Not that it is relevant anyway. I have another weekend to spend. I wonder where though. I ordered the guard to open the door for me and he greeted me with a smile. He asked me why I was leaving so early, so I checked the time. Oddly enough, it was still just a quarter of an hour before work was over. I must be seeing things. I checked my wristwatch and the hands of time were not moving.  I looked at all the other clocks that hung on the wall and they did not move. All of them were steady and hard set at 05:45 PM. This could be just a dream. I chuckled and told myself I must be working too hard. Then reality hit me like a truck. I saw distorted memories of a life wasted because of my unbalanced dedication to work. I saw fleeting images of the contacts I accumulated as I moved up the company, and I saw a glimpse of all the people who disappeared from my life as I was always unavailable. My family and my true friends were all gone and out of reach.

It’s just another Friday at work for someone in the middle-income bracket. Just another quarter of an hour and it will be the weekend soon. The long-awaited weekend is there every week, but we always crave it. We all do. After that heart attack at my desk, I just slumped in my office chair and nobody came to help. I have been waiting every Friday for the weekends that never really came since that fateful day. The old security guard smiled at me again and gently held my hand. He then told me that he will now escort me to the conference room. A lot of people were waiting for me and the meeting would not start without me.