Sunday, August 15, 2010

It's just another manic Sunday...I wish it was Saturday

I know. I know. This is not how the 1986 hit single from The Bangles goes. But, living in the UAE, I had to adjust the lyrics. After all, the weekend here falls on Friday and Saturday. Sunday is actually my manic Monday!

Yep, that’s right. My workdays are Sunday through Thursday and weekends Friday and Saturday. Today, while most of you were sleeping, I got up early and drove my lazy and sorry ass (pardon my French!) down to the office…to work…on a Sunday! Why oh why?

Well, while Sunday is a day of rest and worship in the Christian tradition, Friday is a day of prayer for the Muslims. For this reason, a work week in the Middle East is typically either Saturday through Wednesday, or Sunday through Thursday. This schedule allows people to attend prayer on Fridays.

Actually, the official weekend in the UAE also used to be Thursday and Friday. It was only in September 2006 that all public sector establishments as well as government and private schools adopted the new weekend. Thank God I was not here back then – can you imagine having to work Saturday AND Sunday?!

Before the change, any company here dealing with Europe, for example, had only an average of three days of mutual office hours. This, of course, had a huge negative impact in the business.

The weekend shift maintained the respect of Friday as a day for prayers, but also allowed more working days to overlap with international businesses and financial markets. It helped boost stock markets, banks, and insurance companies, increased private sector business activities and reduced losses from the long interruption caused by the difference between the UAE’s weekend and the rest of the world.

I’ve been doing this for over three years now and I am still not used to this work-on-a-Sunday thing. Sunday for me is a day to sleep in late after a great Saturday night. A day to work on your tan or go to a barbecue at a friend’s house. A day to enjoy a good movie, eat pizza, hang out with friends. A day to be with the family. Can you imagine my pain having to work on Father’s Day or Mother’s Day, when I know the entire family is enjoying a great lunch together down in Brazil?!

But we always have to look on the bright side of life, right? So, I guess my comfort is that while all of you have to endure a whole Friday at work, I am already out and about enjoying my weekend!

To everyone, a great Sunday! Going back to work now…


  1. Mari,

    o que vc faz aí? #curiosa

  2. Pode deixar que logo, logo, vou matar a curiosidade com um post e contar em detalhes as minhas aventuras profissionais por aqui. Working on it... Mas, pra não te deixar na vontade, trabalho com comunicação interna.

  3. =)
    Vou ficar esperando esse post!