Daily life | My work week


This is a new installment of my “daily life”-posts. It’s been a little while. I thought you might be interested to hear what a typical work week looks like for me.

As you may or may not know, I work a flex schedule at work, which means that I don’t work the usual 9-5 five-day schedule.

I work a 4-10 flex schedule, which means I have a four-day work week (yay!) but work 10+ hour days, which means I am usually out of the house for about 12 hours (including commute, lunch break, and all). While it takes some getting used to (my work days are pretty long and there is not much else that is getting done during these four days than work, eat, sleep, repeat), I have really come to like my schedule and  and having a three-day weekend every week is simply glorious! I wouldn’t change it for the world (unless I’d be forced to).

Having the four day work week has multiple advantages for me. First, it’s given me the opportunity to work the occasional Friday and easily build up some comp time; or ‘extra-vacation time’, as I like to call it. I only get 12 days of vacation per year (my European readers’ jaws probably dropped to the floor in horror just now, while my American readers probably think this is a pretty decent amount of time).  Let me just tell you that it’s not really that much time off, if your family lives halfway around the world and  when you’re faced with an at least 11+ hour- long flight just to go and see them. Well, and everybody knows that going to Europe for only a few days, or even one full week, is just silly nonsense. When you take travel time and jet lag into account, you gotta go at least for two weeks (if not longer). So, having the option to work the four-day schedule gives me the flexibility to work some extra days and build up some more vacation time to go and see my family, but I also have the option to take advantage of a long weekend to go on shorter trips here and there with J without having to take extra time off.

My employer is also really flexible and lets me move around my hours as I please. There are certain “core hours”, that I am supposed to be available, but if I have to leave early one day or get in a little late on another, I can just make up that time on a different day. I can also shift my “day off” and occasionally take a different day off during the week, if need be.

One more reason why – despite all the hassle I’ve endured in my eight years at this job – I love my work place and have fought hard (and have waited very patiently) to stay here.

I usually get to work around 7:00 a.m. and I am usually the first one in the office. I am also frequently the last one to leave (unless one of my co-workers is around who works really odd hours –  sometimes he doesn’t come in before the early afternoon). I enjoy the ‘quiet time’ that I get at the beginning and end of each work day.


I am also lucky to not be stuck in cubicle land, but to share a corner office (yes, with two sides of windows!) with one other co-worker. We’re on the 5th floor, we have a beautiful view, oh, and did I mention that I work on a College Campus? I love it.
I have a nice workstation with a height-adjustable desk and two big monitors (and seriously, I wouldn’t know what to do without them anymore!). And on top of that, I like what I do (most of the time) and the people I work with. It’s a pretty sweet arrangement, if you ask me.

The only downside is that I wish my work- and therefore my home – was closer to the beach. Ha! You can’t have everything, right?

Do you have a 9-5 job, do you work a flex schedule, or do you work really odd hours? What’s your workspace like? Tell me in the comments!

This post is part of my ‘daily life‘ series where I talk about how we do things around here! Find the last post here.

  1. My work is really flexible about our hours..we also have “core hours” but otherwise people come and go as they please. I usually work 7-4, and occasionally work from home. I have a cubical but it’s in a large room and has low walls, so it’s more collaborative (and less privacy). Luckily I’m right by a window! It was interesting to hear about your work life..and yes 12 days sounds great! I only get 10..but work at a bank so we get “bankers holidays” which is another 10 days for random holidays.

    1. I love when employers offer flexibility!!

  2. I work five 8-hour shifts, although I would love to do four 10’s!!


  3. 12 days! Womp. When I last had a perm role (about a year ago) I had 30 days, and could earn up to 5 more. Now that I’m a contractor, I managed to take 6 months off last year while still earning the same. The downside is sometimes a contract will finish early or I won’t be able to find one when I need to, but I’ve built up buffer to help manage that. Crazy huh? Loved this little window into your working week!

    1. Being a contractor has its up and downs, I suppose, but damn… 6 months off sounds great :)

  4. I knew you had the flex schedule, which I think is awesome. I wish my husband had that! He works 12 hour days M-F, but on top of his vacation package he does get all the banker’s holidays :) And I agree, US vacations are not as generous as European.

    1. How many days does he get off? Also, for all the hours he’s putting in, he also earns much more than me… ha!!

  5. My schedule is really flexible as well. I work 5 days a week, but I usually work one or two days a week from home, which is SO NICE. I can get laundry or other chores done in between tasks and I can work in my pajamas :-)

    I work with people across the US, so I try to get in early to maximize my time with the east coast people I work with, but that is flexible as well. As long as I’m in the office/working during those “core hours”, that’s really all that matters. Plus I have a very laid back boss, which makes it so much easier to take care of personal stuff like doctor/dentist appointments, etc. If I need to leave early, he’s totally fine with it (he doesn’t even work in our office).

    It’s the best situation I’ve had work-wise, and I try not to take it for granted because I know it won’t last forever!

    1. Oh, I love that you’re able to work from home… we can do that too, but I haven’t really asked to do that yet. Maybe I will :)

  6. So interesting! I work a half-hour longer M-F (7:30-5) and then I have a half-day every Friday, which is so, so nice and I don’t think I could ever go back to working a full Friday anymore. I also will always need the option to work from home because I’m able to do that a few times a month (wish it was more!)

    I only get 5 days off a year and no extra holidays off (just the big ones – Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, etc.), so I would love to have 12 days off, but totally understand your need for more with traveling to Europe to see family!

    1. LOL – I said that wrong! I work a half-hour longer Monday through THURSDAY. Haha. :)

      1. I gotcha! :) That sounds like a pretty good arrangement, too… although I do wish you had a few extra days. 5 days is like nothing :(

  7. Nice! I work the typical 8-5. Actually, last fall
    I started working 7:30-4 to get some long runs in before sunset and my boss decided he likes this arrangement, too. My work is flexible if I need to take the day off or work from home. I get 15 vacation days but with me being in accounting, it’s just not feasible to take more than two weeks off because of deadlines. I’m fortunate that I’m even allowed two weeks off – but I have to offer to make myself available. I realize, too, that for someone in corporate America, I’m pretty lucky. But just like you said, it’s difficult to travel abroad for just a week or two (I too have family abroad). Also, I’m not particularly interested in spending the rest of my career sitting at a computer. So I’m thinking about switching to teaching in the next few years.

    1. Oh yeah, 15 days is nice… but if you can’t take more than two weeks at a time, that can be tough with travel (esp. overseas!). I can see how you’d like to start working in a different field soon.

  8. You’re a German Expat in CA? I’m a Canadian ExPat here! Living in the SF Bay Area (San Jose). Wondering if you’re close?

    1. Hey Nancy, nice to meet you. I am actually in Sacramento.

  9. That actually sounds really awesome! All of it (well except the 12 days of vacation per year – it really should be a lot more, the US is very stingy about that). I have 12-hour work days, so to speak, but not because I work the full hours, it’s my commute that is horrid. On a good day it takes me an hour to get to work, and an hour and a half to get back home. On a bad day it can take over two hours one way. Always depends on metro. Which is why I don’t work, what we call here, a condensed work week (so you work 9 hours/day for 9 days and get every other Friday or Monday off). Instead I work from home on Fridays to take it easy from my commute (many people around the DC metro area work 1/week from home if possible and they want to). I come in at 6:30am and leave at 3:15pm though because our metro system is so screwed up. So the earlier I come in and the earlier I leave, the less likely I’ll hit delays.

    Of course this changes each time I change jobs, which is quite often around here (just the nature of the work – it’s gotten rare for people to stay at a job for too long).

    This is why I dream of selling all our stuff, then taking Matt and our kid and traveling around the US seeing new places, and telling ordinary people’s stories through photos and words. I’ve gotten so burnt out from the daily routine.

  10. Love your workstation. I recently upgraded a few things at home around my desk to make it more ergonomic.

    I am glad to be self-employed since it allows me to be very flexible with my time and my work location. I can go home for longer periods of time and work from there, but at the same time, taking actual vacations is always a little tough. If I don’t work, I don’t get paid.

    – Jessica

    1. I wish I could also work from home sometimes… I should talk with my supervisor :)

  11. When I worked in the office we were able to work an extra 20 minutes/day to earn one day off each month. I started work at 7:10 a.m. and left the office at 3:30 p.m. – it wasn’t bad at all! Getting up early was a bit of a pain (I had to catch the bus at 6:04 a.m.!) but I really liked getting home earlier so I had most of the afternoon and evening to do what I wanted. Now that I work from home, I set my own hours – but I try to make them as consistent as possible, so the kids (and the husband!) know when it’s my work time, and not to bother me. The only really bad thing about working for myself is that I don’t typically get vacations or sick days. There’s always work to be done!

    1. Working at home and for yourself must be hard and require a lot of discipline!

  12. 12 days is definitely not much vacation time, so I am glad you can bank time so you can take more time off! I’m definitely very lucky that I have as much time off as I do. I get 6 weeks which is the most generous vacation package I have ever had! I tend to work from 7:15-4 pm. My hours are somewhat flexible as it’s ok if I come in late or leave early for an appointment but in general, they want us here when the financial markets are open.

    I would love to have the ability to work a flexible schedule, like 4 10’s or something like that but that doesn’t work in the financial services industry unfortunately. I know that some larger companies like General Mills have started to have summer hours, so their employees work more during the week and then have Friday afternoons off. I think that benefits like that are so valuable and often don’t cost the company anything.

    1. Sounds like you have a pretty sweet deal (with 6 weeks of vacation, wow!), even though you can’t take advantage of a flex schedule.

      1. Yes, I am VERY lucky that their vacation package is so generous! When I went into the financial services industry, I knew a flex schedule wouldn’t be an option. I’m just glad it’s becoming more common in other industries, though!

        1. I agree, if the work doesn’t depend on a certain day or time, it’s really nice if employers offer flex schedules (it’s also a smart decision in terms of energy costs, commuting, gas efficiency, etc., let alone the benefits for families!)

  13. Thank you for sharing your work schedule/benefits! The majority of people that I currently work with are GS employees who experience very similar flexibility (flex schedules, telework, 59-min rules, and more vacation/holiday time compared to the civilian sector).

    Well, in the Army there are no set hours. You are pretty much on duty 24 hours. Depending on which unit you are assigned to, hours can vary tremendously. In Texas I left for work at 5:30AM and didn’t come home until 7PM or 8 PM some days (generally 5PM is the standard time to get off). Deployment and training cycles play a huge factor in how much time one would spend at work. On the other hand, we do get at least one 4-day weekend a month and, if we are sick, we can stay home as long as we have a doctor’s notice. Also, if I have any important personal errands to run during the day, I can just leave as I please as long as it doesn’t interfere with meetings or other deadlines. I don’t need to take time off for that. In fact, I am at home right now waiting for Comcast and Directv. We get 30 vacation days but that includes weekends, so technically it’s a month or a little over 4 weeks. Those days cannot be combined with other holidays. For example, if I want to go to Germany for 2 weeks during Christmas, I will have to take 14 days of personal leave (it doesn’t matter that some of those days are Federal holidays already). My current work is a cush desk job with core hours from 7:30AM to 3:30PM. However, there is a lot of traveling, which the military doesn’t get comp time for (unlike our GS counterparts), so, in my opinion, it’s only fair. It’s a great assignment to focus on family and personal development. Soon enough (not for another year and a half or so) I will have to return to an assignment with ungodly hours. And if it’s a command position, I will pretty much be working 24/7 (Thank you internet and cell phones… NOT!).

    Sorry, I need to stop babbling… ;)

  14. I work remotely but the rest of my team, except for two other remote folks in Chicago, is based in an office together in Manhattan. Since I’m in the same time zone as them, I’m expected, for the most part, to work the same hours as them, though I usually swap their 9-to-5 for my own 10-to-6 because I like to sleep in! I don’t take many breaks during the day, though, so I often end at 5 without guilt, knowing I didn’t fritter my day away visiting coworkers’ cubicles or anything – so it’s the same amount of work, just compacted! Most remote folks have flexible schedules, it seems, & while mine is definitely flexible, it’s pretty close to a regular office schedule, which I like. Keeps me in line! I do have 21 vacation days, though…

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