Like you, I have seen the outrage posted on social media, read the online petitions to express disgust at retailers and shop owners, and heard the complaints from those who work the racks and registers; as recently as this past weekend during a weekend trip to the mall, when the cashier lamented that she had just found out a few days before that she has to be at work late in the afternoon on Thanksgiving Day. She was piping mad.
Well, I have worked many a Thanksgiving in the past. And Christmas. And New Year’s Eve and Day. Working holidays comes with some jobs. Like broadcast journalism. And because of that, I never made a big deal out of it. Like other forms of media and entertainment, working in radio means someone has to cover the holiday shifts. It’s not like the radio stations shut down just because Santa comes down the chimney. Politically correct or not, my personal beliefs—specifically, lack of a formalized religion—had something to do with being picked to work on Christmas Day. The premise was that God-fearing, church-going folk warranted the day off more than me. I couldn’t really disagree with that.
But I knew I’d be working the holidays when I took the job. The problem I have with the way this whole debacle has come down is that many of these folks did not. And that’s where I feel they have the right to cry foul. They didn’t sign on for this when they accepted the position.
You can debate the continual demise of our western culture, the greed of corporate America or whatever issue you feel is at the core of this practice, but this is where the rubber really meets the road for me.
I’m not working this Thanksgiving. Working for me is writing. But I may write this Thanksgiving. But if I do, it’s my choice. Not because some boss decided I had to at the last minute.