Anyone who ever doubted Einstein’s statement that time is relative, clearly has never experienced a sunny Friday afternoon in the office. There’s no need to reach a velocity near the speed of light, all you have to do is go down the pub for a lunchtime pint, and time stands still: entire continents rise and fall before the hands of the clock reach 5pm. The more imaginative members of the department have left early, claiming to have “meetings” in other buildings, and a suspicious part of me thinks these were perhaps entirely spurious. Jealous? No: until I qualify for my share options – which paranoia suggests my employers would dearly love to withhold on a flimsy pretext, such as my bunking off early on a delightful summer’s day – I’m far too honest and upright to do anything like that. Still, only two weeks of gritting teeth and being polite to irritating work colleagues (the one with the Star Wars mobile phone tune has gone; the one who whistles the Blackadder theme remains) to go; it’s difficult to believe I’ve been waiting five years for the bloody things.

The moment they turn up, I quit – in fact, I’m thinking of writing my letter of resignation of the back of the share certificate, just to make the point. I’ve only got to give one month’s notice, but my boss wants me to give more; she can’t start recruiting until I have “officially” resigned. It makes no difference to my expected leaving date – the end of October – but I want to cut her some slack, not least because she’s writing a reference to help me get my American visa. It thus seems wise to do unto others. This will be my only plunge into the job market since leaving college (my first job was for a software house, I was shipped out to one of their clients, and jumped ship permanently a year later, where I’ve been ever since). This is a scary thing, playing on standard human fears of rejection: will anyone want me? And will I end up at a company that requires me to actually work? Eeek.

Flicking through the Phoenix press, I notice the large numbers of jobs which require a drugs test. This isn’t a problem in itself (I may be the only person in favour of legalising all illegal drugs, who has never tried any of them), but I confess to some qualms about it from a civil liberties point of view. If you’re a train driver or heart surgeon, I could perhaps see the point, and I wouldn’t want my employees to turn up stoned, but what you do outside of work hours should be your own concern. If I wanted a moral guardian, I would go back home to my mother, not off to the “land of the free as long as you provide us with a urine sample”. Ideally, I’d love to have a company beg me to work for them, only to say “Sorry, I don’t do drug tests”, but I suspect moral qualms will go out of the window, for the first job or two anyway, and I’ll be delighted to have the opportunity to piss in a paper cup.

If nothing else, such dilemmas are a good way to try and pass the time until five, especially in conjunction with comfort eating. Well, “comfort” isn’t actually the word, it’s more “recreational” in this case — you can only look up the latest Open golf scores on the news feed so many times before that begins to pall. Spurious errands are also good: get a sandwich, post a parcel, get the coffees in, anything to get out into the warm summer sunshine while it lasts (probably until roughly 5:01 p.m.). It’s horribly like a hangover. There’s not much in the way of a cure, all you can do about it is hold on and wait for the pain to go away, for you know it will eventually stop….

…until 9 a.m. on Monday morning at least. 🙁