“Working on the weekends like usual. Way off in the deep end like usual.”—Drake
Yeah…you read that correctly. Give up your weekends.
Just the other day, I was chatting with an occupational therapist at my job whose daughter recently graduated from a speech pathology program. Since graduation, her daughter has been fervently searching for a job in the medical setting, but has had no luck. She mentioned that her daughter had one prospective job opportunity, but quickly turned it down because she didn’t want to work on the weekends.
The occupational therapist and I simultaneously shook our heads as we stood by the nurses station that Saturday morning, because we are both well aware of how great it can be working weekends and how it can often be an opportunity to get your foot in the door in the medical setting. SPOILER: not only will you likely have to work weekends at some point, but you will also likely have to work holidays! *gasp*
I get it. I used to LIVE for the weekends. Never in a million years did I think I would end up working every weekend. When I accepted an offer to work a Thursday through Sunday schedule, I prayed it would be short-lived, but I quickly fell into a routine and really started appreciating my 4-day work weeks. Now don’t get me wrong, it still hurts a little bit every time I have to turn down a Sunday brunch invitation, but there are definitely a few perks to working the weekend. Seriously, just hear me out!
Our society is programmed to work Monday through Friday, but with a slight paradigm shift and a little flexibility, that can easily be unlearned, and maybe even work to your advantage. Here are my top 10 reasons you should re-consider that weekend position.
Increase your chances of finding a medical SLP job. Trust me, no one else wants to work weekends either, so employers are often scrounging to staff weekends and are eager to hire employees who are willing to work weekends. Weekend positions often sit on hiring sites longer than Monday through Friday positions, so this might be your chance to snag that medical position you have been wanting.
Two words: weekend differential. Many employers will compensate their weekend employees in various ways for taking a less desirable shift. Some employers may pay a higher rate on the weekends. Others may compensate you with paid time off. Others may allow you to have a 3-day weekend each week. I encourage you to negotiate this with your employer.
Goodbye “Sunday Scaries.” I don’t dread Sundays anymore, because Sunday is the equivalent to my Friday. So while everyone else is pacing the floor about returning to work the next day, I’m turning up for the “weekend”. Oh yeah, and I LOVE Mondays now (go figure!)
Increased productivity in your personal life. When I worked a traditional Monday through Friday schedule, Saturday and Sunday just never felt long enough. I used to stress out on Sunday nights as I reviewed all the tasks on my to-do list that didn’t get accomplished that weekend, and put them on hold until the next weekend. However, since starting my weekend schedule and having 3 days off each week, I find that I am increasingly more productive. I have forgotten what it’s like to fight through the crowds at Costco, search for a good parking space at the mall, or stand in line at the grocery store. I have time to schedule doctors appointments, hair appointments, and handle my personal affairs during regular business hours without draining my PTO. I even had time to start a blog (*wink, wink.*)
No Traffic. My nearly 1.5-hour weekday commute is reduced to about 25 minutes on the weekend. Enough said.
Less hustle and bustle. The fast-paced environment is what I love about acute care. But I can’t help but enjoy the opportunity to catch my breath when working on Saturday and Sundays. The hospital is a little slower, calmer, and quieter. A lot of doctors and nurses are surprised that Speech Therapy even takes consults on the weekends, so when I show up, I’m pretty much a hero. Can’t beat that, right?
Make Connections. Because everyone is a little more laid back on the weekends, it has given me an opportunity to make connections with staff around the hospital. Doctors who are usually scurrying through the halls during the week, slow down a bit and take the time to chat on the weekends. Nurses start to recognize you as “the weekend SLP” and you begin to build meaningful professional relationships.
Venture across service lines. Many departments have their SLPs rotate through various service lines throughout the hospital. For example, I might spend 6 months on the trauma service line, the next 6 months on the neuro service line, the next 6 months on general medicine service line, etc. But on the weekends, there is no rotation—I see consults all over the hospital. So I don’t get too bummed if I don’t particularly care for my current weekday rotation, because the hospital is my oyster on Saturday and Sunday. Working across service lines also helps to keep my skills sharp in all areas.
Camaraderie with your weekend team. Weekends are typically staffed much lighter than a weekday, so you will really get to know the weekend staff. I work with such an amazing group of talented SLPs on the weekends and, honestly, they alone make working the weekends worthwhile.
Did I mention no traffic? Yeah. That part.