- I worked as Insider’s weekend editor for over a year.
- At first, I wasn’t sure how the schedule change would affect my life.
- Now, as I’m moving into a new role, I can see how the change, along with obvious sacrifices, helped me make positive changes in my personal life and career.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A little over a year ago, I made the decision that many privileged people tell themselves they’d never make, and many more less privileged people don’t get to make for themselves – I opted to work weekends. After being laid off from another media job, I had lived the life of a freelancer for a few months, successfully producing just one feature. So when Insider offered me the job as their weekend editor, working from Friday to Tuesday, I jumped at the opportunity.
At the time, I saw the weekend schedule as an entry fee into a thriving news company and a stable salaried media job. Now, as I’m moving on from the weeked position into a new Monday-to-Friday role at the company, I’ve come to realize that, along with the sacrifices, the decision to work weekends was transformative for my life and career. Here’s what I learned from my year on weekends.
Weekend work can be an opportunity to stand out professionally
In journalism, weekend shifts or other positions often seen as part of “paying your dues,” are conceptualized as inherently less desirable. But in my experience, weekend jobs can be a professional boon.
Weekend workers are doing the work that the rest of society would prefer not to do, so naturally, weekend teams tend to be smaller than weekday teams. Besides having fewer resources to work with, this also means that the work you do will be high visibility. If you do the work well, people are much more likely to see and recognize it and be grateful that you’re doing it while they’re relaxing.
There’s less competition during the weekend
On top of allowing you to stand out, weekends are beneficial from a competitive standpoint, especially in the media industry. While weekend shifts are often generalist positions, they give you access to huge opportunities in many different areas.
There are far fewer people working during weekends, creating space for those who are working to go for the biggest and shiniest scoops and stories.
Frequently, I found our weekend team would break stories simply because we were the only people to reach out for comment that day, or the beat reporters, who would have normally gotten the scoop, were offline. Getting these stories was exciting, empowering, and impactful – and they can be huge for one’s reputation and career.
This principle of less competition also applies to how consumers react to weekend work. During the weekend, there’s the same, if not more, hunger for news, but there are far fewer people producing it. Generally, this means that each story tends to get higher return on weekends.
There’s oftentimes more responsibility and autonomy on weekends
Aside from the competitive edge that working weekends can give you, they can also provide more creative freedom and opportunity to build your skills.
Weekend workers generally carry more responsibility on their shoulders, and are forced to learn more skills. In turn, successful weekend workers become more valuable assets, and more autonomous, which can be an advantage at their current workplace or in the job market in general.
In the same vein, weekend workers also tend to have more freedom to work how they’d like and with more creative latitude since there are generally fewer layers of supervision.
There are personal sacrifices to working weekends, but also some advantages
Before I started working weekends, the prospect of such a schedule was a giant mental hurdle. It felt like I was going to be giving up my entire social and personal life for work.
At first, adjusting to a life that felt out of sync with the rest of the world and my social circle was difficult. It took more effort to plan get-togethers, activities, and vacations.
But, as time went on, I learned to be a bit more flexible and active in making time for people and things I care about, and I learned what things I thought I should be doing on weekends that I didn’t really need in my life (like staying out until 4 AM).
I also learned how to find joy on a free weekday – New York City’s offerings are surprisingly accessible when everyone else is at work.
Overall, I found that working weekends was a great platform for me and the reporters that worked with me to prove our worth and work on exciting, major stories. I’d encourage people not to discount weekend job opportunities or the people who choose to take them.