Once we reach adulthood, most people no longer get a Christmas Break. No, I’m not going to call it winter holiday break or just winter break. It’s Christmas Break. As I explained earlier, Christmas is a secular holiday moreso than a religious holiday. But the point is that adults miss Christmas Break.
There are still a few jobs out there that give Christmas Break off, such as teacher. For the rest of us, if we want time off between Christmas and New Years we have to spend that ever so treasured asset: Vacation days.
Every year around this time, I begin to wonder how I squandered all my vacation days so that I cannot take this time off like so many other people manage to do.
Okay, looking back I didn’t squander any of my vacation this year. I did actually go on vacation for most of it. And, having blown my knee to such hell that I required surgery to fix it, I spent a few days of vacation because I wasn’t technically sick, but didn’t feel up to working. I blame the percocet. Ah the halcyon days of summer recuperation…
In a work environment where they require people to use all their vacation days by the end of the calendar year, this last week of December is a ghost town. In a business world job where human interaction is a requirement of the job, when there are fewer humans around, interaction becomes difficult. Especially so when it’s particular humans that you need to accomplish tasks or provide feedback or approve various things.
Those few people who are around are in “Vacation mindset”. Why do people bother to go to work during this time if they’re not going to work? Oh, right, because they already spent their vacation on silly things like spending a week in New Orleans. Even the people who want to work can’t be too productive because the people they need are not there or they are in vacation mode.
Now I have to ask, why don’t businesses give everyone the week off. Well the obvious answer is that they still want to make money that week. The less obvious answer is that by enforcing a policy of using vacation by the end of the calendar year, they do. Still for the people who have to work that last week, it’s a slow-boring week. Then I think about what I’d be doing if I wasn’t at work this week? Travel? Not on a week where the roads are so crowded and resorts are at max-capacity. Relatives? I don’t have the kind of relatives with spare rooms so back to the previous crowding problem. Stay home with the family? My sons are teenagers, they get their fill of me in just an hour or two (if that long.) My daughter would probably want me around as much as possible. She’d spend the whole day selling me pets from her imaginary pet store. It would be impossible for me to focus on anything creative or productive without physically locking her out of my office – which is something I’m only willing to do if I’m actually working from home. Video games? Okay, they might occupy 3-4 hours before losing their lustre for the day.
So maybe the best thing to do is come to work and deal with the holiday pace and mindsets.
(Okay, if you work in retail, the week is a hell of returns and hectic sales to people buying for themselves what they wanted but didn’t get under the tree. My personal record for most hours worked in a week, outside of the military, was when I was working as a candy store manager the week after christmas. I worked 96 hours that week. I thought the paycheck was huge.)