I don’t know that I’ve ever had what would be considered a “good” Friday in government service. Fridays are the day when everyone wants to extend their weekend. On any typical Friday you can expect at least a third of the staff to be somewhere other than in the office. It’s easily double that on a Friday before a scheduled 3-day weekend. This is bad for two reasons. First, in the event that something actually needs to get done, finding someone to do it is a challenge at best. It’s even more problematic if you want to find the right someone or even just a random body who has the actual skill sets you need. Good luck with that. In the event that there is no Friday crisis, you’re probably going to discover more common situation of there being absolutely nothing to do. Usually that will set in a few minutes after lunch.
You can only refresh cnn.com so many times before realizing you’ve already red all the articles. I mean, it wouldn’t be so bad if the IT guys didn’t block most of the really interesting sites. Alternately, you could listen to the guy next door tell the same old stories he’s been telling since the first time you met. If you’re really lucky, some of your equally bored colleagues might be up for a game of Words with Friends. Otherwise, you’re doomed to spend the next three hours trying to look like you’re busy enough that it keeps the boss from creating work for you to do… because really, if there’s anything worse than being bored, it’s getting saddled with random busywork.
Editorial Note: This part of a continuing series of posts previously available on a now defunct website. They are appearing on http://www.jeffreytharp.com for the first time. This post has been time stamped to correspond to its original publication date.