Wednesday, November 28, 2007
The Holiday Slowdown
It's a form of "mission creep" I suppose. (Mission creep is "the expansion of a project or mission beyond its original goals, often after initial successes." Thank you, Mr. Wikipedia.) I'm talking about the Holiday Slowdown here. The initial success a few years back was the adoption of the day after Thanksgiving as a standard holiday, and the general agreement that the day before or the day after Christmas should also be time off work. So now most people don't work on these days. That's all good, but the mission creep began when people started saying "Oh, since I'm already off two days of that week I'll just take the rest of that week off, too." And that was followed by "Nobody else is working those days between Christmas and New Years Day so I'm taking that week off." All of a sudden we went from having a day off in November and a day off in December, to a five-week period when there aren't enough people on the the job for the rest of the people who are working to get anything done. So you find yourself looking at some project on November 15th and saying "I'll just wait until January to start on that."
Now don't get me wrong - I am a big fan of time off work. I like my job, but that doesn't mean I want to go to work. And I will contribute to the Holiday Slowdown this year by taking off all those unproductive days around Christmas and New Years. Oh boy, am I looking forward to it. Glorious free time! Crossword puzzles! Trimming of toenails! The Jerry Springer Show!
And besides, we Americans still work too much anyway. In Europe (I love it when people make comparisons to the lifestyle in Europe as if they'd really prefer to live there, when in reality we'd all go nuts from the tiny little apartments and the tiny little cars and the overpowering waves of body odor in the air) everybody has 41 weeks of vacation per year. Perhaps I exaggerate a bit. Then again, what do Europeans really have to do? Regardless of their positions of employment, their main task is to sit around cafes and mope, start new fashion trends that fat Americans can't wear, and foster a mood of general disdain. That's not easy going, and you need a lot of time off to recuperate from the stress of it all. On the other hand, in Japan they work even more than we do, and look what it's gotten them? Manga, bad haircuts, and enthusiastically bad karaoke. Wow.
I think the worst part of the big Holiday slowdown for me is how the news dries up. Since so much of what we get in the news is generated by government, and so much of the government takes part in (you could say, causes) the slowdown, you don't get a lot of news this time of year. And when there's less news there's less crazy stuff to read about, and less chance of getting a good laugh at someone else's expense. For example, the only funny thing I've heard all week is that George Bush is going to lead the conference on peace in the Middle East. As Sally from Peanuts might have replied, HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa!
So the trade off for the slowdown and the time off work is all the time you are supposed to spend writing Christmas cards and putting up lights and making peanut brittle and fashioning nativity scenes out of dryer lint. I'm making a list of all those holiday things I need to do, and I'll get started on it right after the first of the year. So if you don't get a card from me, you'll know I'm watching Jerry Springer.