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7 ways to make working over summer more bearable

PHOTOGRAPHY BY CLAUDIA FISCHER

WORDS BY ALYCE GREER

Because it’s not exactly a walk in the park.

Picture it: your alarm goes off. It’s hot as fuck. The fan is blasting and the sheets are sticking to your body, but you don’t care because it’s summer holidays. DING DING. Your group text starts firing, making plans for the day. Beach? Roadtrip?? Long lunch??? Movie marathon and choc-tops in the aircon???? 

Then it hits you. 

You don’t get summer holidays. You have a job. And to make matters worse, that alarm was telling you you have to start work in 30 minutes. First things first, it’s important to remember you’re not alone. Literally millions of us work in retail (and other industries that refuse to take a break) or own our own business, meaning we have to work over Christmas, New Year’s and the entire summer season.

But if that doesn’t make you feel any better, I’ve got some tips. I should add a disclaimer to let you know working over summer is still going to suck big time, but hopefully, this will help make it slightly more bearable. 

Create a ‘summer edition’ schedule

If you have the luxury of flexibility, ditch your current 9-5 routine and create a special ‘summer edition’ schedule that won’t be such a drainer. Can you start working extra early so you can finish mid-afternoon? Can you knock over some tasks at night so you can take half a day off here and there? Can you do split shifts so you can still squeeze in a bi-weekly long lunch?

Aside from your hours, try to create a new ‘working over summer’ routine – think beach swims every morning, dinners with friends at night or anything else that might possibly brighten your day. 

Work somewhere else. Anywhere else.

Many of us are still working from home (thanks, COVID) which means we’re slogging through the summer period from our kitchen table. If that’s you, what are you still doing here? Jump on Airbnb or Riparide to book an escape. Working is much easier when you’re wearing a sarong and sitting by a beach.

Avoid social media at all costs 

For the love of God, avoid social media. It will only make you sad. That applies to Christmas, New Year’s, festival season and any other day until winter.

Reschedule the whole damn thing

If a lot of your friends or family members work over the holiday period, might I suggest you pretend it’s not happening? Instead, choose some dates that work for everyone and plan a do-over, whether that’s a weekend away, a make-believe New Year’s Eve or your own backyard festival. I hear February is a nice time of year.

Build your wishlist

When you’re a casual worker, the one and only perk of overtime is the extra money. My advice? Focus on this, and nothing else. Figure out how much extra money you’ll be making over the next few weeks so you have a nice round sum in your head, then plot out how you’ll use it. Make sure you buy yourself something nice, just for you.

Plan some office activities

Stuck in the office with a bunch of other people? They are probably just as off it as you are, so rather than crying away the holidays, do your best to make it fun for everyone. Assign each person a meal or activity to plan, so you’ve all got something to look forward to every day. Mimosa breakfast anyone?

Have something to look forward to

At the end of the day, working over summer sucks, and there’s nothing you can do about it. If nothing seems to lift your spirits, it’s time to stop trying. Instead, plan something for when the nightmare is over. Rally your friends and book an epic experience, or a trip somewhere new… because everyone knows the only real way to get through a shitshow is to have something to look forward to on the other side.

Alyce is a contributing writer for Fashion Journal and the director and head writer at Bossy, a Melbourne-based copywriting and content studio. You can find Bossy here and here.

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