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Ever work on Thanksgiving?

Did you ever have to work on Thanksgiving? Did you miss the feast, or simply scurry away immediately afterwards?

Emergency response professionals, police officers, hospital workers, utility experts, and others routinely work on holidays, keeping daily life running for the rest of us. Pizza deliverers, gas station attendants, and lots of fast food workers don’t skip for the day, either.

What about retail?

Plenty of people are complaining about popular stores that are opening on Thanksgiving Day (or Thanksgiving night) to get a jump on the Black Friday shopping frenzy. Some even call for customers to boycott major retailers that expect their employees to report to work on this family-focused holiday.

Sure, we understand that lots of these employers offer holiday/overtime pay (or bonuses) for those who punch in on Thanksgiving. And lots of workers seem to say they are willing to forgo dishwasher duties at home (or at Grandma’s house) and head off to their jobs instead. Scores of sales clerks, cashiers, and stockroom staffers will work through the night, keeping customers happy and store shelves filled for the Black Friday stretch.

Like it or not, maybe we all have to face the fact that Thanksgiving duty is becoming a norm for retail staffs. 

But how about corporate 9-to-5’ers?

Should business professionals and office workers be called in on Thanksgiving?

Here’s an example. Not so many years ago, I was working as a public relations executive for a large Midwest manufacturing company. Part of my responsibilities included writing speeches for the chief executive officer, who was (Gotta say it.) a bit of a blowhard. OK, he was a real turkey.

The guy called me at home on Thanksgiving morning and demanded that I show up at the office to work through a section of his upcoming presentation for the board of directors. The meeting was still two weeks out.

Is he kidding? I thought.

I spent a more than a few holiday hours, tweaking phrases and editing visuals (with the graphics pros, who were also tagged for the day). Then I dashed off to my in-laws’ for some cold turkey and more than one cold shoulder. And, as a salaried employee, I received no benefit from the effort, except meeting one more unrealistic expectation from the boorish boss.

Is holiday work a fair demand? Maybe it depends on the job. In the very least, perhaps it ought to be spelled out ahead of time, if it is to be required.

Adapted from public domain image.

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