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Your HR Guy hates holidays

Okay, maybe “hates” is a strong word. And really, I don’t personally hate holidays. But something has got to change.

“So how can you hate holidays you sick jerk?”

My readers are polite so maybe they wouldn’t ask something like that. In reality, holidays kill momentum in regular businesses* with the assuredness of a Dick Cheney hunting trip. And while regular holidays are usually strategically placed at the beginning or end of a week, the holidays in November, December and January give us no such luck. Thanksgiving is on a Thursday and Friday is often included. Even if you do require workers to come in on Friday, what are they going to get done? How many are going to bail on you?

This year, Christmas and New Years Day are on Tuesdays. Tuesdays! How inconvenient. So basically you get the Monday off (or you take it off) and you come back the day after and have three days. Then the next week, it is the same deal. The only days that could possibly be worse are a Wednesday or Thursday.

And during that time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, sales and productivity goes down in most sectors except retail and grocery. Speaking from experience, working retail during the holidays is like getting bludgeoned to death by a wiffle bat. Not deadly at first but the constant barrage of hits leaves you bruised every single day.

Meanwhile, we are making fun of the French for taking an entire month off. Which would be fine if they didn’t pick a better time to take off than we do. And hey, at least they aren’t pretending to get work done.

I am not suggesting we turn into bagel eating business robots like Penelope Trunk (man, I really hope google picks up on that) but it seems like if I want to take a couple weeks off, I want to do it during a nicer time of the year. Really the only advantage to holidays is that everyone else has them off too. If I could just get that time and use it throughout the year, I think I would pick better days and assuming the wife could have the same advantage, we would coordinate that too. Assuming our entire family had that advantage, we could schedule a family get together at a much less stressful time. And we could assure more uniform productivity throughout the year.

Not that I am going to refuse the holiday though. My wife and I are going to one of the most beautiful places in the states to go hiking, see a museum, see a replica of a wonder of the world and probably drink our share of wine. But it isn’t because of the holiday, it is because of the common time off. And believe me, I would pick a better time of year to go if it were up to me.

By Lance Haun

Strategy for The Starr Conspiracy. Former HR pro. Portland guy (Go Blazers!) and WSU alum (Go Cougs!). I get to write about what I want here.

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