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November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving is Over! So Where are My Turkey Employees?


Well, the holidayís over and Iím back at work. Where the hell are you?


The day after Thanksgiving is one of those unique little days known around here as ďD.F.ís Rant Days.Ē These are the days when I rant about the sad state of the American work ethic Ė now so out of control that we feel we need a day off precisely because we just had one.


Friday, November 23, 2007 Ė Iíve finished off my to-do list and begun delving into the first item. The items that usually read like ďCall BobĒ today read as ďLeave voice mail for Bob.Ē Because I know very well that Bob isnít there and wonít answer the phone.


Like most people, Bob looks at the calendar and sees a day to eat turkey sandwiches and watch college football. I look at the calendar and see a Friday thatís not a holiday, so I came to work. Itís like Iím the last person alive on Planet Work after the invaders from Planet Slacker came, and now I just wander around raiding everyoneís refrigerators and finishing their projects.


Of course, Bobís wife showed up at Kohlís at 5 a.m. this morning, which just goes to show that the work ethic isnít gone so much as misdirected. If you really want to accomplish something, youíll find a way.


Now before you start e-mailing me about what a crotchety old Gestapo tyrant boss I am, you will be pleased to know that I have, in fact, given in to the cultural reality and declared the day after Thanksgiving a paid day off at my company. Itís one of those things that you donít really want to do, and donít really think anyone has the right to expect you to do Ė but the way the world works makes it almost impossible not to.


Families now gather from far and wide on Thanksgiving. They stay together late, and since they havenít seen each other since last Thanksgiving in many cases, they want to bunk down at Aunt Ritaís house and spend a few days. If they had to figure out a way to get back to work on Friday, the whole thing would fall to pieces.


And letís not be too delicate about this issue: Many people get plastered on Thanksgiving, and no one benefits if they head home at night so they can get up and come to work. (And believe me, if youíre hung over, the last thing I need is to listen to you moaning while Iím trying to get my work done, and probably your work as well.)


Corporate Americaís willingness to accommodate your abuse of alcohol by actually paying you to stay home the following day is astounding. This morning, while Iím working, and youíre taking some hangover pills you heard about on a sports talk radio show while cursing me for the puny raise you think I gave you at your last review, I hope you know Iím looking through everything in your office. Howís the head feeling?


I thought about making people take a vacation day if they didnít want to come back on the day after Thanksgiving, just as a matter of principle. But another principle Ė the one of not letting other people steal your employees Ė intervened.


One possibility, however, is to tell all the employees next year that theyíre free to go wherever they want for Thanksgiving and no one has to come home for work on Friday. But they need to take their company-issued cell phones, laptops and mobile broadband cards, and put in a full dayís work from the couch at Aunt Ritaís.


Why not? You donít have to cut short the family visit. You donít have to drive home drunk. You can sit there in sweat pants all day for all I care. Just get your work done. I am paying you, you know.


ďBut itís the day after Thanksgiving!Ē


Yeah. And Monday will be four days after Thanksgiving. Do you think I could impose upon you to show up and earn the money Iím paying you that day? Or is that still too soon? Why donít you think about it for a month or two and let me know when you think youíre ready? And in the meantime, Iíll just mail your paychecks to your house.


Poor babies. Enjoy your day of being paid to do nothing. Iím here all alone and Iíve got everything under control. Come to think of it, I donít really need you here anyway.




© 2007 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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