Happy Memorial Day!
I, like many Americans, will be at work today. My day jobs are in healthcare (yes, I have more than one) and since hospitals never close I will be working today. It just is what it is.
From January, 2017 until now I’ve worked all the major holidays. The only exception was July 4th, which is sacrosanct in our home. Was I assigned so many holidays? Yes and no. I was assigned a couple of them but I also made switches to help other coworkers and/or to accommodate my spouse’s work schedule. In some ways working holidays is great because I don’t have to figure out childcare and the hourly rate is usually higher. But sometimes, like this past Thanksgiving, it means that I don’t see my family at all.
I hate missing holidays with my family, but there are ways to cope. Here are my words of wisdom after almost 20 years in healthcare:
1. Schedule holiday events on days other than the actual holiday. This has become more socially acceptable as fewer employers fully close on holidays.
2. Remember you’re not the only one. Like I said in #1, fewer employers fully close on holidays anymore. Gone are the days where whole towns close shop on Sundays and holidays, which is a good thing! Not having to adhere to that old fashioned timetable allows for religious & cultural diversity, offers more freedom of scheduling, and gives employees the opportunity to earn a higher hourly wage due to shift differentials holiday pay.
3. Emergency services, military personal, hospital workers, etc, have always worked holidays. And thank goodness we do!
4. To the people joining me in the workforce today, try to enjoy your time with your coworkers. It’s hard for all of us to be away from family, so bring in those snacks to share and put a smile on your face. We’re all in this together!
(Side Note! A special message to the family and friends of people who have to work holidays: It’s OK to say that you’ll miss us but please stop with the guilt trips. You know what we do for a living. Getting angry at us and complaining that we ruin holidays with our work schedules is hurtful. Whining at us is ineffectual and annoying. We already feel sad and guilty about having to miss out on yet another holiday event. So unless you have something kind to say and are saving us a slice of dessert please kindly keep the criticisms to yourselves. PS: We love you!)
As far as today goes, it helps to remember that Memorial Day isn’t really about picnics, shift differentials, or me whining about having to work another holiday. It’s about honoring those who have lost their lives protecting our country. Drive by any cemetery today and you will be very much reminded of this fact.
Wishing you a safe and healthy Memorial Day.