Working during the holidays


It’s Friday, a day when I’m pretty non-motivated anyway. But this isn’t just any Friday. It’s the Friday before a holiday weekend. The big holiday. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and Sunday is Christmas Day. Our office is closed on Monday, so many of my co-workers took today off to have a nice 4-day weekend. OK, just about three-fourths of the company took today off to take advantage of a 4-day weekend.

Except me. And Eric, who sits next to me. And Brenda, who works two cubes down.

As you can imagine, my motivation is not high. I usually get about two dozen phone calls per day. Today I’ve gotten two. I typically get about 30 emails. Today, I’ve gotten none. I’ve visited some people in other departments, and have that same lonely look on their faces. Kind of like we’re the soul survivors of a nuclear holocaust.

Some of my co-workers started taking off as early as Wednesday. My good friend Melodie, who I talk to every single day? Gone today. My bosses? Gone. Interns? Gone. There’s no office chatter. The only keyboard clicking I hear is my own. I can walk down the hall from one end of the building to the other and not encounter a single person.

I went down to our cafeteria for lunch. There were no specials today…I guess they figured it wasn’t worth the effort for the few people that would be here. Instead of scanning the room to find an empty table, my choices were wide open. There were just pockets of one or two people scattered about. I took a table for four and silently ate by myself. There was no buzz of conversation. Only silence. Although the few of us in the lunchroom didn’t communicate, I can only imagine they felt the same way I did. We were part of a brotherhood in a way…the few, the brave…the ones who decided to work the Friday before the holiday.

The past couple of weeks have been abuzz with food days and edible gifts from vendors that work with us. It’s pretty much all gone now, and what’s left over on the filing cabinets has been there for days. There is a box with about four donuts left over from Tuesday’s food day. There was already a sticker on the side that said “3 days old”. Can you imagine what those things must be like now? You would need a sledgehammer to break them apart.

I’m no stranger to working holidays. When I first started in radio, there was no automation. Someone had to be there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. My first couple of years in the business, I worked Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day. Usually, it was by choice. I figured that the people who had kids and families should be home. Like my current situation, there were few phone calls…mostly just other people who were working and just wanted to hear a song, or probably just wanted to talk to another human being.

My hats off to the people who work those jobs that need to be worked, even on holidays…policemen, firemen, doctors, nurses and more…we all appreciate your sacrifice, and hope that you’ll forgive my whining about having to work on the day before a holiday.

As for me, do you think I’m going to give in next year and take some time off around the holidays, just so I don’t have to endure a little loneliness at the office?



About groovyrick

I live in a small town in Illinois with my wife and three kids. I am a part-time musician, part-time writer, and full-time dreamer.
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5 Responses to Working during the holidays

  1. Tara says:

    I’m here too Rick!! I like it when there is not that many people here! I wouldn’t choose to have it this way all of the time but it’s nice for now. For most of next week I’ll be the sole survivor in my department, which means my phone calls may be increased, but I was by myself on Thursday and got an entire 2 phone calls! For my lunch, I went shopping and the traffic was insane. I was in line to pay my Von Maur credit card where most people are getting gift cards or getting their presents wrapped (for FREE! — an amazing service Von Maur provides I may add) and an old man was getting 4 $150 gift cards. I said to him smiling, “I’ll take one of those,” and he replied with, “hang around and you just may get one.” I love elderly people, they just say the darndest things. Everyone else in that area was completely straight faced and wondering why I chose to conversate with a complete stranger…….if only they had hearts. ‘Tis the season to be Mary!

    In the Christmas Spirit

    P.S. If I was in the IAA building we would be commencing reindeer races with our desk chairs. For now, just blast that music at your desk and hope the other 2 people don’t get mad.

  2. Beth says:

    Happiest of holidays to you and your family. When I was in radio and TV I worked Christmas every year. Best memory: putting up the slide showing Santa and his sleigh heading for our area when I worked weather for WTWO, Terre Haute, IN. That was always the last thing before news sign off for the 11pm on Christmas Eve. Felt like I ushered in Christmas.

  3. Kristi Zimmerman says:

    This week is even worse … I’m with you in spirit, my friend.

  4. Melinda says:

    I came in the Friday before New Years and compared to your Friday, the place was a buzz. I think there were 6 of us in my section of the building. But you know, I like to work during the holidays. Maybe it has something to do with my former news job; seemed I was always working then. Now, I can clean out my inbox, my mailbox and any other box…and be all fresh for the new year. Bring on 2012!!

  5. Melodie Keefe says:

    I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack 🙂

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