In case you hadn’t noticed, the holidays are over. Those of us who go off to work in the mornings (or at other times during the day) are now back to doing so.
I was lucky enough to have January 2 off, so I’m nearing the end of my last vestige of the holiday season—a four-day work week.
A lot of people take vacation time off during the holidays. Makes sense for several reasons. You can “spend” only a few vacation days and yet end up with a lengthy time away from work. Plus, little gets done during the week between Christmas and New Years anyway.
But on the flip side, those who DO come to work (as I did) between and among the holidays find things pretty laid back and easy. It’s almost like being on vacation, but at the office. There are fewer phone calls and emails, and few expectations of anything really important happening until after the first of the year.
Oh, but then comes the “dark side.” The first two weeks after the holidays are Hell Weeks. Everybody’s behind from all the time off they took, and from the laid back attitude we all had during the holidays. Now it’s time to play catch up. You gotta pay the price for all that easy time. (Kinda like paying off the Christmas bills after the joy of gift-giving is behind you.)
Attitudes are touchy, and many are in an outright bad mood. They gained weight, they lost sleep from all the “fun” they had, and there’s now the inevitable pile of work waiting for them from all the stuff they put off in December.
Further, (this from a Human Resources perspective) this is the time of the year when many of the benefits renewals take place, changes are required in payroll deductions, enrollment forms have to be completed, and calendar year deductibles start over again. Further exacerbating the stress level at my plant is the fact that this month our annual performance evaluations are due. NOBODY likes doing performance evaluations.
Knowing all this, my role in the office (and out in the plant itself, for that matter) is frequently one of trying to help people keep things in perspective and not succumb to the temptation to snap and snarl and bitch. Although I have a bean-bag puppet on my computer monitor of “Catbert, the evil H.R. Manager” from the Dilbert comic strip, I try to be Mr. Good Guy.
Sometimes I’m successful; sometimes not. People enjoy routines, and right now most of us are a bit outside of our normal routines. But it’ll pass. In another week or so things will settle down to “normal.”
Meanwhile, like Snow White, you might as well “whistle while you work.” Can’t hurt.
(Sorry. I can't resist this. Click HERE for a cute picture!)