Working When You Have No Sleep, A Guide

New York Mag’s The Science of Us published a servicey guide to surviving the work day when you didn’t get any sleep the night before. There are no quick fixes — ain’t that the way? — but lots of coping strategies. Among them: don’t hit the snooze button, get outside in the daylight without sunglasses on as soon as you can, eat a healthy breakfast and a healthy lunch, do the hard work right away and save the busy work for the afternoon, when you are truly ready to die. True, true, and true.

However, reality: oversleep, drag yourself into work, eat an egg and cheese sandwich at your desk, gchat everyone telling them you want to die, beg a coworker to make you coffee, lie on the floor of your office, shouting, “I HAVE NO SLEEEEEEP.” Leave for lunch, get what you think is a second wind. Come back to your desk, send a few ill-conceived emails. Think you might die again. Chat everyone that you might be dying. Someone, a work friend, suggests you head home early. “No, no, I’m fine, I have to finish this thing.” Stare at the thing. Promise yourself that you will always go to bed by 11 every night forever, from here on out. Ask a coworker if they want to go for a walk and get an iced coffee. While waiting for the coffee, lay your face on the brick wall of the coffeeshop and pretend to fall over. Proclaim that you hate “everything.” Listen to your coworker talk about his or her crumbling romantic relationship for a few minutes, then tell them you really need to get back to your desk and finish a thing.

Get back to your desk. Sigh audibly. Suck on your iced coffee but it’s already gone and it makes a really loud slurping noise. Spin around in your chair a bit. Slam your mouse against the desk. Stare at your inbox until your eyes glaze over. Open an email. Close it. Open another one. Start to reply. Hit delete. Sigh again. Gchat someone again. “I can’t do this. Fuck work.” “You should go home.” “I can’t. I have to finish this thing.” Get up and go to the bathroom, the weight of the world is upon you. Get some water. Lean on the wall again, tell the nearest person how little sleep you got last night. “I would die,” they offer, gamely. “I AM DYING,” say. Walk back to your desk, sheepish. Look around to see if your boss is in a meeting. Grab your bag without making eye contact with anyone. Run out the building and never come back.

Photo via cmak

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