At my first job out of college, I worked 10 straight days over the holidays. In an industry that is 24-7 and never stops (like broadcast news), someone has to be covering the shifts. And when you’re the newest employee, you’re expected to pay your dues and pick up the extra hours. I’ve worked on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.
So, if you’re out there looking at your next week, and it’s filled with nothing but work, you are certainly not alone. I’m sure it feels like it — I saw all the angry statuses on Thanksgiving from those who were at work. But remember, you likely knew going into this 24/7 industry that you’d have to work a holiday or two. You will survive, and you can make it through!
Here’s what you can do to stay positive:
- Make traditions with your coworkers. Sometimes your coworkers become like your second family, especially if you work long, strange shifts. Sometimes you bicker like siblings, but ultimately, you’ve come to rely on each other. Plan a special Secret Santa or potluck lunch/dinner for those who are working the holidays. Maybe when you’re all off of work, you can do a holiday dinner together. Support each other, and you’ll have a lot more fun.
- Do something out of the ordinary at work. It’s the bare bones staff running the office, and it’s pretty quiet. I’m not telling you to break any major rules while everyone else is out, but go ahead — play some holiday music. In the newsroom, we would turn it up and sing together between writing stories. Take a short break to toast to one another at midnight, even if it has to be with some sparkling grape juice.
- Spend time with local friends. If you’re coming home to an empty house after work, and your family isn’t in the same area as you, plan a special dinner with friends or join a friend’s celebration. I was lucky and had friends in the area who I could spend the holidays with when I needed to.
- Plan time for you. Once your shift is up, plan a special activity for yourself that you wouldn’t normally get to do. Buy great food and treats ahead of time, and maybe some tools for an at-home spa night. Grab a great selection of movies and put extra butter on the popcorn. Make the night after the long day special for you.
- Remember — it’s just a day, and you can celebrate at any time. Just like with your birthday, you can celebrate it on any day. I celebrated Christmas late with my family, and I realized the actual date didn’t matter. It’s the tradition, and the fact that you get to enjoy it together.
You might be working the holidays this year, but remember why and what it’s for. In 24/7 industries, you are serving the greater good: There are people who need you, and who you can be there for on the holidays. Your hard work is appreciated, even if it’s not obvious right now.