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Sven de Bakker: That’s a lovely long weekend!

Sven de BakkerEnglish | Nederlands

“Wow, that’s a lovely long weekend you got there,” I hear quite often. And they’re right; my schedule of five days up and four days off leaves me with beautifully long weekends. The irregularity of those four days off comes with some nice perks. I can go shopping or hit the gym for a workout, or just wander around while everybody else is stuck at work. It’s these moments that I utterly enjoy my long weekends, but some weeks…

While on holiday, I remember to check my schedule. Damn, holiday spirit gone; next week I’ll be based someplace else than usual. On my first day back I’ll start flying from Italy.

I’ve been scheduled to cover the first shift, which means I’ll have to arrive at the Italian base a day early. Company rules dictate that I must not take the last flight there. Unfortunately, we fly only three times a week to where my work week will kick off. After a strenuous search, I find a possibility flying over England. This means I will have to leave in the wee hours of the day before work and change flights to arrive late in the afternoon. Do I get paid for these hours? No, alas.

Right, next is finding a hotel. One that’s close enough to the airport so I can take the bus instead of renting a car. Naturally, I end up renting one anyway: my flight back home will have just left when I get off work in a few days’ time. Flying back over England is not an option either. A flight leaving from another city could bring me home that night, although it’s a few hours’ drive after work. I decide to take it and to accept the additional fee for returning the rental elsewhere.

Eventually, my working week looks like this: I arrive back home from holiday late Sunday evening and on Monday I find out everything there is to know about the base (where to park; how to get to the employee’s entrance; how to get in etc). Tuesday I get up at five a.m. to catch my flight, and because of the previously mentioned transfer I finally arrive at six p.m. I hurry to the car rental and pick up my ride. Then off to the grocery store to buy some things for tomorrow morning as the hotel only serves breakfast from 6 a.m., by which time I’ll already be on my way. Back at the hotel I have some salad with bread from the store. The next five days will be all work, getting up at four a.m. and arriving back at the hotel somewhere between one and seven p.m. Sunday morning check out. After my final flight I enjoy a quick lunch, but there is no time for a nap. Then a three hours’ frantic drive to return my rental car and catch my flight back home. At one a.m. I finally unlock my front door, and after having been awake for 21 hours straight, I quickly find my bed. For the next few days, all I have to do is rest, do some cleaning and make sure there’s enough food in the freezer. Lovely weekend!

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