Why the 9-5 work day is now all but a myth...

      I often chuckle to myself and then my left eye starts twitching and then I feel angry and then I need a nap when I hear people talk about the 9-5 work day. It is a quaint idea that women only work 9 to 5, isn’t it? How cute, can you imagine how glorious that would be? To actually only have to be accountable for eight hours and then as soon as 5pm rolls around boom – crazy me time.

“Sorry kids, I’m off the clock – make your own dinner! I’m going to my Taste of Asia cooking class. Then after that I will meditate in a water dome meant to replicate the womb and take a break with a cup of coffee served on the rock hard chest of an Arabian prince.” (WHAT?! As if you haven’t thought about having your coffee served in that fashion.)

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Nestle. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100 per cent authentic and written in their own words.

But whether you have offspring or not, being-so-busy-your-soul-hurts seems to be a universal truth for all of us. Mamamia has done some hard-hitting, investigative research with the help of thousands of you and we discovered that most of us actually feel our working day is more like 5am til 9pm. In fact, 80 per cent of you admitted that your working day is more like 16 hours and not eight. We asked probing questions, we wanted to get to the bottom of how you all handle these 16-hour days – what your highs and lows are and where do you find the time to have a break?

Must not forget to have a break to eat and drink

One of you responded to this question with: “When I have been concentrating so long on a task, I realise I have forgotten to even pee, let alone eat or drink!” Oh I hear you lady. From the moment we open our eyes, the list of things that need to be done that day hangs over our heads like the sword of Damocles. We all have the “must haves” that need to get done before any sort of relaxation can occur. STAT ALERT!

When people take their breaks during the day:

  • 31 per cent of people say it’s when all of their ‘must haves’ are done for the day
  • 31 per cent of people say it’s when dinner is packed away for the night
  • 28 per cent of people say it’s once everything for the day is taken care of
  • And just under 10 per cent say they want their break before they embark on responsibilities for the day.

God love that 10 per cent of you who are all like: “Stuff it, I will have a break FIRST and then get to the day’s chores!”

I admit to you all, when my children were young, the only way to get a break was to hide away in the toilet. I had many a morning coffees there I am ashamed to say. It was the only room in the house with a lock on it! Oh they would claw at it and stick their grubby little fingers under the gap but I maintained the rage and tried to enjoy my makeshift cafe le urinal.


Seven out of 10 of you said that you manage to get 1 to 2 breaks a day. Luckily for us, 9 out of 10 of you happily admitted that taking a coffee break was a good way to relax and recharge. After reading a lot of your responses to our survey, including my favourite one which when asked what her favourite time of day was a women responded:

I need my coffee sometimes

7.30am when I see my monkey’s face in the morning and get a beautiful cuddle… but that barely lasts 10 mins when I find myself longing for my second favourite part of the day…7.30pm, when I get to have my “me” time again.”

(I love my kids most just when they wake up and just when they go to sleep too! Time in between is a day-by-day situation. I love my girls but I don’t always like them.)

I discovered that most of us are 5 to 9-ers, out of these 16 hours, we are lucky to get 30 mins to ourselves and we all need to lock ourselves in the toilet from time to time to enjoy our morning coffee.

We’re all just working to stave off the guilt, aren’t we? Maybe that’s just me, I am Italian and an anxious person. That’s enough now Em, it’s time for a break!

I have earned this coffee.

This is investigative journalist Em Rusciano, signing off.

A gallery especially for those super busy people out there…

WATCH the ‘5 to 9 Diaries’ video series here:

– Episode 1

 Episode 2

– Episode 3

Episode 4

– Episode 5

Episode 6

– Episode 7

00:00 / ???