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Summer Friday Envy: What to Do When You're Stuck at Work

No matter how frustrated you may get watching your friends leave their jobs early each week, Cy Wakeman, author of The Reality-Based Rules of the Workplace, says to keep in mind that the idea your schedule is "unfair" is all in your head.

"Working Fridays didn't hurt until you saw that your friends don't have to, prompting you to make up the story that your current situation is unfair. In reality, working a full Friday is a reasonable expectation," Wakeman says. "If you would like Fridays off in the afternoon, if that is what you value, apply for work at organizations that provide that."

If you feel strongly about having flexible hours as a work benefit, it's okay to approach your boss about offering it -- just take care in phrasing your question, Wakeman says.

"Don't base your request on what others are getting, or what you think you deserve -- too often we ask for benefits without the promise of results," he says. "Step up and say, 'I would like to have summer Friday afternoons off -- What results can I deliver that would make your investment in my free time worth it?' That shows that you understand your true value and that you are focused on results for the organization."

Although a growing number of offices offer flexible schedules -- especially in the summer -- "everyone else is doing it" is never a good bargaining tool, Wakeman explains. According to staffing firm OfficeTeam, 75% of HR managers say their company offers flexible schedules during the summer, while 63% noted that employees can leave early on Fridays. Approximately 41% of workers say that flexible schedules are the "most coveted" summer benefit to have.

Employees should remember that while the idea of getting off work early on Friday may sound amazing, getting a promotion or a raise as a result of hard work is even better, says Michael A. Levin, assistant professor of marketing at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio.

"When your boss or your boss' boss walks through your department at 2 p.m. on a beautiful Friday afternoon, what do you want that person to see? You working away on a project or assignment, or an empty desk?" Levin asks.

As much as you may desire a flexible schedule, if you really think about it, perhaps you're more interested in a career, Levin explains.

"If your friends are leaving on Fridays at noon to go to the beach, golfing, biking, etc., then you need to ask yourself whether they care about their career," he says. "At some point, you need to grow up as a person and an employee."

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