I’m assigned all the worst holidays to work, long company-wide lunches when I’m paid hourly, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. I’m assigned all the worst holidays to work

I work as a pharmacist in a federal hospital with a group of 13 other pharmacists. We are open 24/7 and that requires people to work shifts and weekends and holidays that no one likes. It is a shared burden. However, for the last two years, management has “assigned” holidays to people. The manager has assigned me Memorial Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day (evening hours), Christmas Eve (evening hours until 10 pm), and New Year’s Eve (evening hours until 10 pm).

Most employees work three holidays a year. I am technically working three since Christmas Eve and New Years Eve are not holidays. Other employees are working three holidays but working Presidents’ Day, Columbus Day, and Veterans’ Day.

My boss states that a holiday is a holiday and that working one is the same as working another. I feel that working Thanksgiving is different than working Columbus Day, even though both are holidays, and that working the less desirable holidays should be a shared burden. I also feel that the EVE of Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are kinda special and should “count” for something.

I agree with you — not all holidays are created equal, and most people would see working the holidays you’ve been assigned as a significantly greater burden than working Columbus Day. I would say this to your boss: “Would it be possible to swap some of my assigned holidays for other holidays? I’ve somehow ended up with three that are especially big family celebration days, and I’d really appreciate the chance to swap one or two of them for holidays that aren’t associated with big celebrations.” Ultimately, it’s his call — but you’re certainly justified in being bothered by it.

2. Asking for an increase in pay when the job changes on my second day

I recently interviewed and was chosen for a one-year contract position whose role was initially nebulous, as the company’s staffing needs were fluid. I ended up being offered an assistant role instead of the more demanding role I’d hoped for, but still accepted as it was still an increase in pay and responsibility over my prior work, and I knew there was a strong possibility of promotion.

Day 1 of training was for the assistant role. But sure enough, when I showed up on Day 2, my manager informed me that an employee had put in notice and that they wanted me to train for that employee’s role instead – which is the more demanding role. While I’m excited for it, the pay should be 10% higher than for the assistant role, and I want to ensure that I get that pay bump. (I had a verbal on the 10% amount from the person currently vacating the job — who is a friend and former coworker — and the assistant operations manager had confirmed that the main role would pay $20/hour vs. $18/hour.) How do I tactfully make that request?

“I’d love to move into this role and I’m really excited about taking it on. I know the X role pays a bit more than the assistant role — can we revisit my pay in light of this change?”

To be clear, this is because you’re taking on an entirely different job. If you were just taking on some new projects or responsibilities, that wouldn’t be the kind of thing where you ask for an immediate salary bump. But in this case, you’re taking a different job than the one you negotiated earlier.

3. Long company-wide lunches when I’m paid hourly

I am one of a few employees at my company that are paid hourly and not salaried, so I have to submit a timesheet to accounting every two weeks. Everyone in the company is designated 30 minutes for lunch, but every now and then we have a company-wide lunch (for someone’s birthday, special occasions, etc.) that goes over the 30 minutes, and I’m never sure how I should log it on my timesheet.

I’m really not sure what to do next week, since our company’s new COO wants to take me and another coworker out for lunch at a fancy restaurant — which is obviously great, except that it’ll probably take 1-2 hours, and I’m the only one who stands to possibly lose money because of it. I feel dishonest saying I only took 30 minutes for lunch, but at the same time I don’t think it’s “fair” that I should lose a big chunk of my paycheck to attend a lunch that I didn’t initiate, and can’t (and don’t want to) turn down.

What should I do in situations like this now and moving forward? Log it as 30 minutes even if it goes over, or accept the dock in pay? And if I should accept the dock in pay, should I bring the issue up with my bosses? I feel kind of embarrassed talking about these sorts of things with people who make much more money than me.

You should ask your boss how to handle this, and you shouldn’t feel embarrassed by it. Your boss knows that you’re working for pay, and this is the kind of question managers field all the time. I’d say this: “When we go out for longer lunches, how should I handle that on my timesheet? I normally take a half hour lunch, so I’m not sure how to handle it when we’re away for one or two hours.” You’ll probably be told to just log the 30 minutes, but if you’re told to count the whole two hours as non-work time, I’d say this: “That means that on days when we have a company lunch, I’ll end up getting paid less. That won’t be easy for me financially; is there some other option?”

4. Rejected because I didn’t disclose my wife had previously interviewed for the same job

I interviewed for a position and went through several rounds. I was rejected because I “didn’t disclose my wife was a candidate for the position several months prior.” However, the first email application I sent mentioned that she referred me. I didn’t state that she was my wife, but used her entire name as a mutual contact. I don’t want the position anymore, but am curious if that’s legal, or if I need to mention in future interviews that she is my wife when referred by her.

Yes, that’s perfectly legal. Employers can reject you for any reason they want, as long as it’s not based on your race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, or other protected characteristic.

I’m not sure why they particularly care that you’re married to another job candidate who’s no longer in the running. I can see caring if you’re married to a current employee, but that doesn’t sound like the case here.

As for future interviews … is this going to come up that much? I’m thinking you’re probably not going to be applying to a ton of positions where your wife previously interviewed. But sure, if it does happen again, I’d err on the side of disclosing it. In general, erring on the side of transparency is usually safer than the opposite.

5. Mentioning motherhood in a job that involves children

I know that personal information (spouse, kids, hobbies, etc.) typically doesn’t have a place in cover letters or resume, but what is the protocol when it could strengthen your candidacy?

Specifically, I am applying for a job with a local children’s magazine and the job description states they are looking for “people who have an interest in children, parenthood, and family.” Would it make sense to mention that I have a child in my cover letter somehow, as a way to explain my interest in the role? The job is one that appeals to me in general anyway, but as a new mom this subject matter is now something I am also personally passionate about.

I think you can definitely mention that you have a strong interest in and commitment to kids and family, but I’d stay away from citing your own motherhood as an example of that — largely because so many people have kids that it’s not really a differentiating factor.

{ 300 comments… read them below }

  1. take care of your machine in whatever you do*

    #5: I rarely disagree with AAM, but – I’d think a quick, casual mention that one is a parent might be a good thing when applying to a children’s magazine (for instance). Because if it comes down to two candidates, and one is not a parent but the other one is a parent? I’m thinking something painless like “As a parent, I have an interest in the many challenges that children face growing up”, or something like that.

    1. Artemesia*

      I agree, I think this is relevant and would try to artfully work it in indirectly e.g. mentioning something you do with your child or how this magazine was useful to you when dealing with an issue with your child as opposed to saying I am qualified because I am a mother. If I were applying for a job at a dog magazine, I’d manage to work my dog into the cover letter too.

      1. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

        Agree as well. they may be looking for people with a variety of perspectives on parenthood too, and being a new mom is your angle. Unless you’ve had some past career with children, im not sure how you would explain your interest in parenthood. However, this is no carte blanche for everyone with kids to do this in their cover letter for every job involving kids- it sounds exceptionally relevant and appropriate in this case.

    2. Al Lo*

      Agreed, particularly in a writing role. The OP didn’t specify whether this is a content or support role, but I could easily see this as being similar to, say, a site like Babble, where content comes from a specific POV (parent of teens, special needs parent, parent of preschoolers, single parent, etc).

    3. LawBee*

      I’m not generally a fan of the “as a _____” sentence structure. I always find myself feeling dismissed if I’m not a _____, and vaguely annoyed if I am a ______ because of the assumption that all _____ have the same interests.

      It’s totally a personal preference, although I agree with AAM. Being a parent definitely flavors ones interest in children, families, etc., but it’s not a job skill that would set a candidate apart from another.

      1. Artemesia*

        I would bet that all things being equal a child oriented business e.g. children’s clothing, toys, kids magazine etc would choose a person with kids over one without. It isn’t listed as a skill or qualification, but then lots of subtle things that go into a hire are not those things.

        1. Magazine Jeanne*

          I can’t see how being a parent would, in and of itself, make one better at making children’s clothes—as opposed to, say, have an excellent sense of design, understanding the market and forecasting trends. (Gay men seem to do just fine in designing beautiful clothes for women—without having to BE women to do so.) The only role at a Parenting/Children’s magazine where it should be in any way relevant that OP is a parent should be if they are writing some kind of first-person perspective column about parenting. But to be the art director, copy editor, print traffic coordinator, etc.? No, no and no.

          1. Betty (the other Betty)*

            Just wanted to point out that both gay and straight men (and gay and straight women) “do fine in designing beautiful clothes for women…” Sexuality has nothing to do with it.

            But I get your point: one doesn’t need to be a parent to work on a magazine about parenting. Although this is one case where mentioning that one is a parent is probably ok.

            1. Magazine Jeanne*

              That was my point exactly. that one’s gender or sexuality or parenthood status, etc., aren’t relevant to most of those roles at a magazine or in other industries—unless you are hired to do something representing you as having first-hand experience, like writing a “Moms Column” or something. My offering an example of a gay man in that fashion scenario for comparison surely should not imply that I thought (or it was true) that non-gay non-men could NOT design nice clothing. It was to make the point that one does not have to BE the subject/client of an industry to KNOW the subject/client.

              1. Artemesia*

                No one is disputing this. What some of us are suggesting is that it might make a slight difference in getting hired because those doing the hiring might prefer a parent to write for a parenting magazine if they have a lot of similar candidates. Being able to and being chosen are not the same thing.

              1. Judy*

                And at least some people who design kids clothes, especially for babies, have never put them on a child that can move. My guess is they use dolls, if that. Not a child who has an idea where their arms want to move to.

                1. Mephyle*

                  Yes, that, and clothes that are inconvenient for diaper changes. And yet these impractical clothes get produced and marketed. Who buys them? People who have never dressed a baby (or haven’t done so for decades, and get seduced by the cuteness of the outfit).
                  This is an example where a person has dressed a baby (not exclusive to parents, but definitely an experience a parent gains) should have a definite advantage.
                  Alison stated that so many people have this experience that it shouldn’t be a differentiating factor. But that’s a bit of false logic. It is still a differentiating factor even if a great many people have it.

              2. Cordelia Naismith*

                Right? What is up with the lack of pockets in women’s trousers? They either don’t have pockets at all, or they have those little half pockets that aren’t big enough to really put anything in. Or, even more irritating, they don’t have pockets but do have a decorative seam designed to mimic a pocket. Why? What is the point of that? Just put in a real pocket!

                Sorry — I get irrationally irritated by my current lack of pockets.

                1. Kelly L.*

                  Oh, they might break up the line! To which I say, break up my damn line, with my blessing. Just give me a place to put my crap.

                2. Kyrielle*

                  Even better, the fancy dress pants someone described to me that have full pockets, but a line stitched across them a half-inch down. Heaven forbid you ruin the lines of the pants by *putting something in that pocket*.

                3. Student*

                  I also hate the lack of real pockets.

                  The only solution I’ve found, short of many-hours-long shopping excursions, is to go to the men’s wear section and have those tailored.

                4. Meg Murry*

                  Or suit jackets! Why go through all the effort of making it look like there is a pocket there with flaps and all, but no actual pocket. I just want one spot big enough to hold a couple business cards or my drivers license and maybe one small key. This doesn’t seem that hard. Mens suits all have pockets galore – why can’t I have just one tiny one? You can even stitch it shut for shipping and for those people that don’t want to “ruin the line”


                5. LD*

                  FYI, some real pockets are stitched closed till the stitches can be taken out by the purchaser. It’s to help keep the lines of the pants or the jacket from being pulled out of shape till it is purchased. If you have pockets that you believe aren’t real, you can check to see if there is a place to take out the stitching where they are closed, or even feel the fabric just under the flap or the pocket line to see if it is thicker and therefore has a pocket with stitching to be removed. Just like on some coats or jackets that have a flap in the back that is stitched closed…take that stitching off. It’s to keep closed till someone purchases the item.

          2. Myrin*

            I agree with your comment (with the caveat Betty posted above) from the viewpoint of That Makes Sense, but that doesn’t mean that Artemisia is wrong since she only said that she’d bet a child oriented business would prefer a parent over a non-parent. It’s not about whether it makes sense but about the approach such businesses take, and that could well be the one she described (I have absolutely no idea how child oriented businesses work, so this is pure speculation; maybe they think like you do, maybe they don’t and instead think having a child is the determining factor, fairly or not).

      2. Childless*

        Thank You! I feel the same way with those statements because they oh so often imply that the person has false assumptions about me. Also, as a person that has come to terms with the fact that I will never have my own children, this idea that someone with kids is more valuable than me really breaks my heart. In fact, I am kind of fuming about it right now and should walk away.

        1. Kat M*

          Plus, some parents aren’t really interested in kid related stuff. They’ll do it for their kid because they love them, but maybe they’re dying to get out of the “kid” stage.

          On the other hand, I could see a lot of people who care about kids and are interested in them, but don’t have children of their own. There are plenty of us who work with kids or in kid related fields, either on a professional level or volunteer basis, or who might be “auntie”/”uncle”/godparent to various kids.

        2. Nashira*

          Um, yeah. I’m reaching a point where I’m coming to grips with my inability to have children, but the idea that I am lesser because of being unable to parent is a pretty awful one. I am so much more than my infertility and inability to raise a kid due to Reasons.

          It’s also offensive to people who work with children without having their own. I have met some fandangtastic daycare workers, elementary teachers, etc. who are just amazing, yet do not have their own kids. Let’s please not sell these wonderful people short.

          1. Michele*

            Not having kids does not make you any less important or in any other way less than someone who has kids, especially someone who abuses or neglects them. It just makes you different from them. It is the same thing with time. A parent’s time is not more valuable than that of someone without kids, it is just spent differently.

            As to Nashira’s second point, keep in mind that Dr. Seuss never had kids. So if someone gets snarky about need to have children to understand them, just point him out.

            1. DastardlyGent*

              It’s hard to think that way once you’ve had the “____ can stay late for this, he doesn’t have a family!” thing thrown in your face on numerous occasions. :\

    4. Mel R*

      I’d probably bring it into my supporting examples somehow. “I have an interest in the many challenges that children face growing up, and have needed to clarify my own positions and understand different perspectives on various issues when dealing with them as they came up with my own child and his/her classmates.” …or something, that’s probably too wordy but bleh, caffeine deficiency. ;)

      1. Lulu*

        Definitely mention it, and be specific about what it brings to your candidacy. Something like how you have become familiar with children’s and parenting magazines as a new mother, and what information/resources you get from them

      2. NoPantsFridays*

        Right, I think it would be fine as long as the OP doesn’t act like being a parent automagically makes her qualified for the job. It sounds like she’s not doing that — she specifically says the job would interest her anyway.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      I agree that mentioning it is appropriate, since they opened that door. Showing personal vested interest can help in some cases. I used it twice on interviews and both times got the job. However, I mentioned my activities on the interview itself. That may have worked out better because it is easy to skate by this info in writing. In one-on-one conversation it seems to jump out more. With both of my experiences the interviewer said “Can you do X?” I said “Yes, and here is what I am doing at home right now.”

      I would suggest to OP in order to strengthen the statement tell one or two examples of how you used your interest/passion in child development to assist your child. That could look like this: “I had been reading a lot about X being beneficial to children, so I decided to look at this more closely. I researched a little and found A, B and C. I was impressed enough to apply it to my life with my son. Therefore we did Steps 1,2 and 3. The result was ______.

      The key is in the specifics. By giving an example or two of what you are doing at home the interviewer can have some basis for seeing how you would approach the job.

      1. Felicia*

        Definitely specifics is what I was going to say. Just saying you have a kid won’t differentiate you and will look weird. Saying I have interest in X child related things, which i read about in Y, and here’s how it worked in my kid.

        Also as someone who’s always had a turbulent relationship with my parents (not saying anything about anyone here!) just because you’re a parent, doesn’t mean you’re good with kids or even particularly interested in them. My parents are much better as the parents of teens and adults then they were as the parents of children.

        1. JB*

          This is what I was going to see. The nature of my job is that I see a sadly high number of parents who have demonstrated a lack of interest in their children and a lack of knowledge about what kids need. Being a parent doesn’t, in and of itself, mean that know more about kid stuff or have an interest in that kind of thing.

    6. Kat A.*

      I have worked for a parenting magazine, and it did matter that I’m a parent. So, I would mention it. I feel that, at the very least, it wouldn’t be counted against the OP — and it might actually carry some weight.

      1. Felicia*

        I interned at a parentingn magazine, and I was the only non parent there. I think i could have gotten a staff role because I also volunteer with kids with disabilities and am a frequent babysitter . So still – experience with kids.

        1. Chinook*

          “I think i could have gotten a staff role because I also volunteer with kids with disabilities and am a frequent babysitter . So still – experience with kids.”

          I think you highlighted the important difference – not having kids =/= not having experience with kids. As well, just because you are a parent doesn’t mean you have epxrience with various types of kids or various parenting situations or even your kid in all situations (so says the former teacher who once had to tell a parent that just because their teen was an angel at home didn’t mean he didn’t act like an idiot when surrounded by 15 other teenage witnesses plus the cute girl he was trying to impress with his coolness).

      2. Mel*

        I’m the managing editor of a family magazine–and the only person on staff whose parenthood (or lack thereof) mattered at all is the guy who writes a column on fatherhood. In fact, several of my employees are childless including our social media person, our designer, our videographer, and one of our ad sales people.

        That having been said, I can see how some people might think it matters. I’ll just happily hire all the amazing, qualified, passionate, childless people they turn down.

    7. AdAgencyChick*

      I think both you and Alison are right! That is, yes, it helps, but it may not be particularly differentiating. I think OP has to express in her cover letter something different than all the other candidates with kids will express, like “I’ve found a lot of great neighborhood events for my kids because of WesterosKids Magazine, so I’d really love to join your team” rather than a more general “I’m a parent, so I’d be good at this.”

      1. J Jack*

        I am the OP for Letter #5 (parenting magazine)…
        Reading through all of these comments and suggestions has been eye-opening! I can definitely see how a general “As a parent” statement would assume too many stereotypes, and doesn’t mean anything in-and-of-itself. Hadn’t really thought of it that way before. I really like AdAC’s suggestion, to specifically tie my interest to something they have published as an non-direct way to address it.

    8. Elysian*

      I would only point it out if it supports something else substantive. For example, I wouldn’t say that because I’m a parent I have an interest in kids… lots of parents aren’t interested in their own kids, and lots of people without kids care about kids. I would frame it more like “Having read your magazine with my own child, I’ve seen how engaged he is with the material about dinosaurs. I believe I could contribute to the work done by the Dinosaur Department with my skills drawing tiny arms.” Or something that actually makes sense in the context.

    9. Mike C.*

      There are few things more universally irritating than anything stated after the phrase, “As a parent”.

      1. illini02*

        COMPLETELY agree, because it is usually followed by something condescending that “non-parents just wouldn’t get”

      2. SnowDay*

        Especially when it’s followed by something that has nothing to do with parenting, e.g. “As a parent, I know that your medical condition isn’t real!” That has nothing to do with parenting. Even a medical professional could only make that claim if they knew my medical history.

    10. fposte*

      My concern is that I receive a lot of these applications and there’s a tendency for people to put parenting up front and present it as if it were relevant experience. I don’t think a small mention toward the end is a bad plan, but I’d limit the real estate you give it.

      1. Jessica*

        Yeah, people wouldn’t constantly be saying, “I wish people had to pass a test to have children” if the mere act of becoming a parent made you good at it. Some parents are really terrible at it, quite frankly.

        1. fposte*

          It has even less to do with how good a writer, salesperson, admin, etc. you are, and that’s the job the OP is applying for. I think there’s merit in mentioning being a parent to indicate where your interest lies since the description has indicated that’s important, but don’t ever suggest that’s got anything to do with your work competence.

          1. Jessica*

            Very true. I could see OP opening her cover letter saying something along the lines of, “After reading ParentMagazine, I learned so many valuable lessons and tips for raising my own kids.” Then list the great things parent magazine does, not what OP has done, then say how you can contribute to that mission. Do they write well-researched articles? Then say show how you’ve done that. And so on and so forth. I think one mention, in context, is perfectly fine if they focus the rest on their concrete, job-related skills. I don’t like the implication that a parent has those skills because they have kids. I have plenty of child-free friends that are equally as capable at child stuff. They just choose not to go that route in their life and shouldn’t be looked down on because of it. Not that anyone was really saying that. That’s just a beef I have in general with the parent vs. non-parent debate.

    11. Lisa*

      OP should really talk about knowing the audience, because of her kids. She should demonstrate how she understands certain age groups, and how her her child is X, Y, Z and she is noticing trends among the kids friends that have gone from frozen to transitioning to taylor swift or something. Changing behaviors at certain ages, how she will use this information to inform her job and decisions because she is very attune to a certain age group right now with her kids. If I was this hiring manager, I would want to know how the applicant knew her audience vs. just saying they were a parent.

    12. girlonfire*

      I am with you. If this were a travel magazine, for example, and they specifically mentioned wanting candidates “with an interest in traveling, tourism, and foreign destinations,” I would absolutely mention my passion for travel, including places I have been and what I gained from those experiences.

      And actually, the above situation was true for my first job, and I think my passion for travel got me in the door for a writing position. My partner worked at the same company in a more technical role, and they didn’t give a hoot about his nonexistent passion for travel.

      I think mentioning parenthood as a gateway for introducing OP’s passion for children and parenthood is fair game, and I don’t think bringing it up the way you mentioned here would hurt.

  2. Kate*

    Would the lunch with the COO be counted as work time or personal lunch? Every company I have worked out would consider that a working lunch even if it wasn’t strictly 100% business. I’m sure business will come up in at least part of it.

    1. Hannah*

      I agree. The LW should of course check with their boss, but I would have said to log official work lunches scheduled by your boss the same way you log any other meeting with your boss or team. If they’re not paid, I would skip the lunches to make sure I still got paid the same. If the lunches are mandatory or skipping would be a problem, that would really confirm for me that they should be counted as work time.

      1. LBK*

        Exactly this – if it’s mandatory, it’s work time. If it’s not mandatory, then I’ll just skip it.

    2. Mel R*

      Yup – the policy (in a previous job where this mattered, a lot) my bosses ran with was basically that if you chose to take a long lunch, you recorded it as non-working time on your flex sheet; if your boss directed you to (took you out, work function, etc) you recorded only your standard lunch time and the rest was paid. I should note, though, that they were really REALLY good about being clear on this; there was always explicit guidance so you weren’t left wondering “am I being *directed* to this as a work thing or just *invited* to a social thing with work people?”

      1. charlotte*

        Somehow, I feel that having long lunches with bosses are something not to be avoided because it gives you opportunities to bond with your boss and team, and also establish a stronger relationship with these people, which may help in your career.

        I don’t advice skipping the lunches. Like AAM has suggested, it would be good to check in with your boss regarding this. Yet, at the same time, it would also be important to mention that you would like to join in the lunches, just that you aren’t sure how filling in the timings in your time sheet should work.

      2. Michele*

        That is pretty much how we do it. If it a work relate lunch, you just consider it your normal time (most people take an hour for lunch), but if it is going to lunch with your friends that you happen to work with, the time needs to be properly documented.

  3. we see tibet with the binoculars of the people*

    #1: Wow. I’d be curious as to how you managed to get selected for those holidays. I don’t know the complete range of holidays that were doled out to everyone, but offhand, it really does seem like you were assigned all of the Heavy Hitters. And I’ll note that all of your assigned days are times when people typically make travel plans to visit family. (With the possible exception of Veteran’s Day) I don’t know anyone who’s ever had a big President’s Day Family Reunion.

    The topic of assigning people to work on specific holidays has come up before on AAM. I don’t have an immediate link available, but I seem to recall that several reasonably fair schemes were discussed.

    1. Mike B.*

      I also don’t know the complete situation, obviously, but it sounds very much to me like a deliberate choice to make the OP unhappy. It would take a remarkably oblivious manager to not realize the implications of assigning one employee to work on all five of those days, or to do so without giving that employee an explanation of why such a schedule was necessary.

      1. neverjaunty*

        Or it may be that the manager is trying to make other employees happy and putting OP’s holidays way down on the ladder; perhaps the manager is playing favorites, or is assuming that other employees “need” those holidays more. But in any case, yes, this is so obvious that I also cannot believe the manager seriously thinks they are equivalent.

        1. Sonja*

          The idea about “needing” a certain day or not is interesting here. Like with Christmas – if the office knows that OP is not Christian (maybe their Jewish or Sikh or Muslim?) they may presume it’s not important to have the Christmas holiday off for their family. But the date can still be important in a non-religious way. Perhaps that’s the only day other family members are off of work, such that it’s the best or only time of year they can get together, the way Christians may get together (because most Americans aren’t likely to have days off for those other religions’ special days.) It’s not as though all Christians are particularly “religious” and spend the whole day in church or something—and yet we don’t give people a Jesus quiz to determine if they deserve Christmas off.

          1. Kelly L.*

            I can relate to this. I’m pagan, but I can generally work in my private religious stuff during a day that I work. My family is at least nominally Christian, and going to their celebrations involves a lot more logistics and takes up more of the day. I think I come off as a hypocrite sometimes for not being Christian and still wanting Christmas off, but it’s actually more useful to me than, say, having the solstice off, most years.

            1. Cat*

              I know people of many, many faiths (Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, pagan, atheist/agnostic) who celebrate Christmas secularly, and I think it’s important that workplaces acknowledge that and not getting into judging whose celebration of the holiday is more valid. If someone volunteers to work Christmas, great. If not, come up with a neutral way of figuring it out. You don’t get to assume that a secular celebration is invalid.

              1. Judy*

                And generally the Christian religious celebration is Christmas Eve. The secular “give the kids gifts from everyone including Santa” and “have dinner at Grandma’s” is Christmas Day.

              1. we see tibet with the binoculars of the people*

                Mmmm … like roasting Santa on a spit over an open fire. Good times!

          2. Elizabeth West*

            And if a company closes on Christmas Day, the employees are still off that day whether they are Christian, Muslim, Hindu, pagan, Jedi, or Pastafarian. So they may not be able to work the holiday even if they’re willing.

          3. Ife*

            A “Jesus quiz” — love it! :) Although, even that probably wouldn’t be fair. I could pass that quiz as an atheist based on years of Catholic school, but some of my friends who actually are Christians might have trouble passing (if catechism classes were any indication…).

            1. Payroll Lady*

              +1 this My son was brought up Catholic, and is now an atheist, however, thanks to his Aspberger’s he can carry a very intelligent conversation regarding religion as well as quote verses. As for me, I’m lucky I know the important things :)

      2. MK*

        Some people are remarkably oblivious, though. And if the manager doesn’t celebrate any holidays themselves and sees them as just another day, I can see why they would think they are all the same.

        1. John B Public*

          There are fourteen pharmacists. On a day like Christmas, where it’s really two days (adding Christmas Eve), at least six pharmacists have to work in that time period. Same with New Year’s Eve. So while you got scheduled with the Big Five, really you weren’t. You get the actual day off. Three people had to work each of those days (I’m going with eight hour shifts here).
          You’re right, a normal person would be a little irritated.

          But then I thought about making the schedule myself, how would I do it? And I realized that, assuming you don’t want to do something crazy like making people work doubles or giving them all three shifts in the same week, it’s going to be impossible to have a schedule where everyone is happy.

          You get the Actual Day off for two of these. Yes you work late the night before, but sometimes that happens. Ask if next year you can have the Presidents Day/Columbus Day/Veterans Day shift.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Exactly. Just picturing in our minds it looks pretty straightforward. When you put pencil to paper it’s not. Anything can throw a monkey-wrench into the works. For example: Between the hours of 12 and 5 there must be two people available. Or Sally had a minor surgery and will not be in for three days. Or Sam called and needs two days of bereavement time. Mary is never available before 1 pm.

            If you are writing a schedule for “just” 14 people you can feel the need for a computer to process all the limitations/constraints you must use to write a viable schedule. And each person asking is totally convinced that there are not that many requests and this should be pretty easy to do. It’s not.

          2. Spiky Plant*

            This. OP enjoys full celebration of NYE/NYD. They get Xmas off completely. They can still easily celebrate Thanksgiving. There doesn’t seem to be anything particularly onerous in this schedule, especially if the OP hasn’t expressed any dissatisfaction.

            1. Kyrielle*

              Also, a great way to sort things like this out is to volunteer for one of those bad boys in order to avoid another.

              For example, at my job, I have to take weeks on call, along with lots of other people. The week of Thanksgiving and the week of Christmas are “special” and our boss attempts to make sure no one gets them two years running. He draws names out of a hat (in open meeting, in front of everyone) for them, after removing whoever had them last year.

              In 2014 I had neither. We _ALWAYS_ go to Thanksgiving at a particular relative’s when possible, and I can’t do that and be on call…so when he asked for vacation info for 2015 so that he could set up the schedule, I took that opportunity to volunteer for Christmas week in 2015. (I also take New Year’s week most years, because a lot of the team celebrates it; I don’t, and I’m not losing anything.)

              It improved his day – now he only had to rain on one person’s parade with a random draw – and it guaranteed me not to be working Thanksgiving this year, nor Christmas.

              Basically, if you really really don’t want holiday X, volunteer to take another. If having both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve is onerous to you, and you’d like to have one of the holidays totally free, offer to take both a shift on NYE and New Year’s Day, or Christmas Eve/Day, whichever you prefer … especially if you can do it before the schedule is set in stone, but even now I bet you could find someone to trade with.

              1. Kyrielle*

                Argh. That was supposed to be “…not to be working Thanksgiving this year, nor Thanksgiving or Christmas next year.”

      3. AdAgencyChick*

        +1. I can’t believe the boss is actually saying out loud that one holiday is the same as another. This sounds like a badly designed smokescreen to me.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          All it takes there is one or two people telling the boss that some holidays are more prized by the employees than other holidays. A prime example would be Columbus Day vs Christmas. It’s nice to drive around and look at the leaves in October, but it’s not a big hardship to give up that holiday. Christmas is a family holiday and has much more weight.

      4. Katriona*

        I had a manager that oblivious once, actually. When I interviewed for the job I was told I’d be expected to work “some” holidays. It was only after I’d been there for a few months that I was presented with a holiday schedule covering the whole year; it had me working Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s–but I was off on Memorial Day and Labor Day, because that’s totally a fair trade-off.

        I handed in my resignation the very next working day after that schedule went out. I don’t think that manager ever made the connection.

    2. NutellaNutterson*

      It sounds like there’s not an opportunity to request or rank holidays, either. Which can be a headache, but allows for some fairness and allowance of personal quirks. I wouldn’t care about New Years eve or day, but my anniversary and birthday are usually Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Veterans Day weekends. I’d love to have those off, even though they are not heavy-hitters on most lists.

      1. charlotte*

        I agree with Mike B – is the boss deliberately posting the OP to these popular holidays or is it just a matter of luck? AndAnd after reading nutellanutterson’s comment, I pretty much understand why OP’s boss might think that all holidays are the “same”. I think the best solution to see if swapping holidays with someone is possible (who knows, perhaps someone is unhappy as you’re with theirs).

        1. Jennifer*

          I wonder if the OP is single, young, or both and is getting prioritized poorly for a “lack of family.” That’s what came to mind for me that they might get scheduled this way.

    3. A Teacher*

      My sister is an ER nurse, they are on a rotation so she is guranteed to work either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day but it alternates every year. Thanksgiving or Black Friday but it rotates every year. Even “holidays” like Mothers Day, Fathers Day, St. Pat’s, Valentines Day, Memorial Day, etc… are included on this rotation. If you work it one year, you don’t typically work it the next. Not all are holiday pay, but some people really want Mother’s day off…

      1. Lisa*

        My mom is a nurse too, she always offers to work xmas mornings since she is older and wants the younger parents to be able to wake up with their kids. She requests xmas eve off cause that is our big holiday of the year. My cousin got married last year, and told his fiance that they can spend every other holiday with her family, but he was never giving up xmas eve.

        Anyway, somehow it works out at the hospital – but people who said they would work on the holidays still got it off. Everyone offers to work this or that in exchange for their big tradition day off, in the process it turns out that everyone’s plans are different enough that there is always coverage and people end up with more time off on holidays than expected.

      2. Michele*

        That seems like the fairest approach. I was wondering why the pharmacy couldn’t do the same thing. I know people who work in jobs that require someone to be on 24 hours a day, and there is always some kind of set holiday rotation, unless someone offers to work a specific holiday, for example making a deal to work Easter in exchange for getting Yom Kippur off.

    4. Lisa*

      Its not a big secret, its favoritism or its about more valuable workers being given those days off as retention. For my boyfriend, its favoritism – he is always on call for every school week (we don’t have kids), every long weekend, every major holiday week (thanksgiving and xmas, followed by new years week – cause its a new year and all!).

      I think AAM, had the advice or maybe a commenter to ask people to sign up for certain holidays by offering incentives – there is usually someone that is willing to work them without being assigned.

      1. De Minimis*

        Is it possible that it’s being done by seniority? That’s how we did it when I worked at the Post Office. It’s bad though because if there’s low turnover or a small employee group then you’re basically stuck working the same holidays forever.

        I have a family member in the same situation, pharmacist for a government hospital [though not federal] and she routinely has to work a lot of the major holidays.

        1. Jessica*

          That’s exactly what I was just thinking… there’s no indication about how long anyone has been there in the post, just that it’s a shared burden. It can still be a shared burden for the most senior people, but made easier by giving them less family-centric holidays.

      2. charlotte*

        By then again, giving incentives might probably add to the “cost” of operation and I believe not a lot of managers would want to do that. It might make sense to offer extra pay to those working on Christmas eve, for example, but as mentioned, not all holidays have the same importance to everyone.

        And Lisa, it really sucks to hear that your boyfriend is experience favoritism just because he doesn’t have kids! ItIt sounds like not having kids means that he has to work his life away. I hope he spoke up and find out something fairer for him.

    5. GOG11*

      “The topic of assigning people to work on specific holidays has come up before on AAM. I don’t have an immediate link available, but I seem to recall that several reasonably fair schemes were discussed.”

      Was it the our time off is being rescinded hunger games style post?

    6. Sunflower*

      Hmm yeah. Although holiday’s mean something different to everyone. For me, the only holiday’s I really celebrate are 4th of July, Christmas and Thanksgiving. The rest are just days I have off. as someone who rents a beach house all summer, memorial day and independence day would really irk me. But I have friends who wouldn’t care much if they had to work. Also Christmas is not a huge deal in my family but Thanksgiving is. I’d rather work Christmas night than Memorial, Independence or Labor Day. And even though President’s Day may not be a wildly celebrated holiday, I know lots of people who want that day off because they plan winter trips that weekend.

      Is it possible the manager’s idea of important holidays doesn’t reflect your own or other’s in the company?

    7. Traveler*

      Just here to add that I feel like Christmas Eve should absolutely be counted as a holiday. There are several cultures where it is celebrated Christmas Eve and not Day. Christmas Day is absolutely useless to me as no one in my family celebrates then – and I’ve worked jobs where I’ve happily traded Christmas Day for Christmas Eve for people who celebrated opposite of me if that was an option. But I get incredibly frustrated when people tell me “Christmas Eve doesn’t count”.

  4. Artemesia*

    Totally agree with AAM on holidays. Christmas and Thanksgiving are the two big family holidays. I’d be pushing to make sure that you had one or the other because ‘these are the two times our family gathers and if I have to work both of them, there are family members I never get to see.’ No one thinks Columbus Day is the equivalent of these days. I’d be pretty paranoid if I had a boss trying to get me to swallow that nonsense.

    1. LizNYC*

      My mom works in healthcare and they rotate “heavy hitter” holidays so resentment like this doesn’t build up. This year, she had to work Thanksgiving week and Christmas, but next year, she’ll be off since she did both of those.

      Your manager saying “a holiday is a holiday” is way off base and apparently doesn’t want to acknowledge that having Thanksgiving off isn’t the same as having MLK Day off.

      1. salad fingers*

        I have to schedule people on holidays, and so far we’ve had a lot of success with handing out a list of holiday and having people rate their priorities from 1-6 (or whatever the number is). We’ve been able to give people their first 2 off most times so far, more first choices according to seniority, and if people are really bummed about being scheduled for their third and fourth etc. priority, they generally find someone to switch with on their own.

        Also, not to minimize the disappointment in the way you’re being scheduled, but New Years Eve and Christmas Eve are much less important to me than NYD and Christmas Day. I wonder if that’s what your boss is assuming too?

  5. A Dispatcher*

    “My boss states that a holiday is a holiday and that working one is the same as working another. ”

    That’s crazy, and this is coming from someone who went into her own job knowing it would be a 24/7 – 365 thing. We don’t assign holidays, it goes by whatever your regular schedule is (which usually means 2 out of every 6 years you have that holiday off, as we work off a 6 day work week). However, we acknowledge that working Christmas Day, New Years day and Thanksgiving day totally suck worse than the others and get paid extra above and beyond holiday pay for being there.

    If your boss won’t budge, are you able to switch your shifts with someone? For instance this year I worked Christmas Eve for someone else so that I could have Thanksgiving off…

    1. Andrew*

      That would be reasonable in most cases, but it doesn’t seem like the OP will really be able to use that option. Since she’s already working the more popular holidays, she doesn’t have much bargaining power with her co-workers.

      1. A Dispatcher*

        She’s working neither christmas nor new years days so depending on her plans and preferences she may.

      2. Katie the Fed*

        Not necessarily – people have different preferences. I’d be happy to work New Years and Independence Day, in exchange for Columbus Day and Veterans Day. Our Jewish employees often offer to cover Christmas (even though we don’t assign it to them, obviously). People have different motivations and reasons.

        1. De Minimis*

          For holidays that aren’t fixed to any one day I often wouldn’t mind working them on years when they fell during the week. It’s really weird and off putting to have a holiday in the middle of the week, it makes the whole week drag [you feel like you have two Mondays] and it seems way longer than a regular 5 day work week.

    2. UKAnon*

      I was going to suggest trying to find someone who’s willing to swap with OP and then taking it to the boss. It’s harder to find “excuses” not to swap when someone else is willing.

      I would love to know if there’s anything that differentiates OP from their coworkers, or if this is truly random and the boss just doesn’t want to faff with schedules.

  6. SandyB*

    When I scheduled shifts for the holidays, I lumped Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years all together, and scheduled every single person to cover a two hour shift on the holiday, and I made it a point to schedule people who wanted to go out on New Year’s Eve from 10PM to Midnight and young parents to Christmas morning.

    Then I said you can trade shifts as long as you make sure the person covering for you is able to do the job.
    Instead of the senior people sticking the junior people with the less desirable shifts, everybody wanted to trade, and people who usually barely had anything to talk about were doing each other favors. It made us into a team in a way holiday parties could never do. It even encouraged cross-training.
    I did this in retail stores, restaurants and supermarkets, call centers and health care, including hospital ICU units.

    1. charlotte*

      I’m just curious, have there been an incidents of unhappiness (e.g. people not able to get the holiday they one because the other person didn’t want to trade with them), or is it all perfect all along?

      1. SandyB*

        Nothing is ever perfect, but this method makes for way less unhappiness. People have to work together to get the time off they want, and they have to be polite to their coworkers as well.

    2. Kelly L.*

      I’m…kind of uneasy about this as a team-building exercise, and I can’t quite put my finger on why, because I need more coffee. But there’s something about it that bugs me.

        1. Kelly L.*

          Yeah, I think that’s what it is–it’s game playing. And I’ve had jobs where the employee bonds were bad enough that I’d just have sucked it up and worked the inconvenient 2-hour shift rather than bothering to ask anyone, which probably would have defeated the purpose.

      1. BRR*

        It doesn’t feel manipulative at first but I’m not sure it’s that terrible of an idea. I think what I don’t like is it can easily still lead to people being screwed over by pure luck. I like how my manager for Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Years starts with asking which holiday people want off. Coverage is usually worked out. Then she offers which additional days people can take. For me I ask off Thanksgiving, but she always comes back and says you can take off Dec. Xth and Yth if you want.

        1. Katie the Fed*

          Yeah, I’ve never had that much trouble scheduling for holidays. I usually stay local for one of them so I can cover down as well (I think it would be kind of awful to excuse myself from both the big ones while making my employees work). Usually once people pick their priorities it’s pretty easy from there.

          1. BRR*

            I feel like if you ask first with the statement you can’t have everything off most of it will work out.

            1. Katie the Fed*

              Exactly. I usually say something like “give me your preference between Christmas and Thanksgiving – I’ll do my best to accomodate all requests but I can’t guarantee you’ll get both.”

      2. SandyB*

        It’s not a “team building exercise.” It just works better than forced holiday parties to get coworkers to cooperate with each other. And isn’t that the point of team building? To get people to work with their coworkers instead of pulling seniority or rank to get out of the scutwork?

    3. Oryx*

      Wait, you scheduled them for the exact shifts they *didn’t* want as a means of forcing them to talk to each other and switch? You’re the supervisor — you shouldn’t put the burden of scheduling on your staff like that as a “team building” exercise.

      1. Sadsack*

        Right, and leaving it up to the employees to determine who has the ability to do what work. Isn’t that for the manager to decide? SandyB claims that it has worked for her teams, but I wonder hwo the employees really feel about it.

        1. Oryx*

          Had any of my supervisors tried to pull this when I worked retail, I would not have been happy but it’s not like I’d feel comfortable voicing that to said supervisors.

          And the fact that it was only for two hour shifts is crazy. That’s hardly worth getting dressed and driving to work when you are hourly.

          1. Chinook*

            “And the fact that it was only for two hour shifts is crazy. That’s hardly worth getting dressed and driving to work when you are hourly.”

            I was thinking that too – 2 hours isn’t worth the gas. then again, I have always worked in places that are legally required to pay you for a min. 3 or 4 hour shift if you are called in.

          2. Mephyle*

            Not to mention that it would kill travel plans. Some employees might have preferred to work regular hours on one holiday if it meant they could have the other one free to take a trip.

    4. Katie the Fed*

      SandyB – I have to tell you I really think this is a terrible way to do this. Why induce panic among people when it may not be necessary? Why not have people put in their priority list and then see what still needs coverage?

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Yes, that’s what bothered me, and probably many of us, about this method. It’s leaving it up to the workers to manage staffing the holiday shifts the way (in my experience) a good manager would. My recent managers have all asked for people to get in PTO requests early, and then granted them all as long as there was still coverage.

        What happens if everyone happens to want one shift off? Or even two co-workers, and so neither is willing to trade? I’d rather the manager made the decision than the employees.

      2. Artemesia*

        Agree. I can see it building team espirit in the way that having a terrible boss might build a sense of fellowship in the staff. I would think it would end up labeling you as a@#$% among your staff though. Not sure I’d risk that.

    5. Elysian*

      This seems to me like a really mean way to schedule. It seems to only shift the “guilt” of having people work undesirable holidays off you as manager and onto their coworkers (who couldn’t or didn’t want to trade). That doesn’t seem like a good morale builder. This isn’t a management style or tool – this is passing the buck.

      1. Chinook*

        Plus what do you do if the person who has a religious obligation at the time you scheduled them but can’t find someone willing to trade? I may not need all of Christmas or Easter off but I do need to get to mass at a certain time (because I don’t control those schedules). I would feel really uncomfortable pulling the religion card on a peer but have had no issue talking to a manager and saying that I won’t be coming in to work because of mass (ex: Thursday before Easter there is a mass that happens at the same time everywhere in a time zone, so there is no alternative except not to go).

        How would this be handled in the team-building scenario.

    6. mweis77*

      I think some of team building came from your team bonding about what a crappy and unfair schedule was made. So yes, they were forced to communicate and work together – but I doubt you really came out the winner on this one.

      1. The Strand*

        Yep, I think you’re right. Everyone had to work 2 hours on three holidays? A recipe for resentment.

    7. LBK*

      I think there are much better methods of encouraging cross-training and communication amongst your department aside from intentionally making yourself completely incompetent. I would see this move as “my supervisor is too lazy/doesn’t respect my time enough to bother to make the schedule on her own, so she expects us all to sort it out for her”. That’s not a fun team-building experience, that’s me having to do your job for you.

      I spent a huge amount of time and effort when I did scheduling to make sure time off requests were respected and it paid off handsomely because I knew I could rely on my employees to pay back the favor when needed. If I had to move things around to cover someone’s week-long vacation, it was easy to ask someone to pick up extra shifts because they knew I’d do the same on their behalf when they requested time off.

      1. Elsajeni*

        Not to mention, how does this encourage cross-training, anyway? I’ve never worked in an environment where I could just decide, as a person who wanted Wakeen to pick up one of my cashier shifts, to say “Hey Wakeen, come over here, I’m going to show you how to work the register” and have it count for anything — he’d have to be trained and signed off by a manager. Other than saying “Sandy, could you pleeeeease train Wakeen on registers, he’s the only person who’d be available to take my Christmas morning shift and he’s not signed off,” what power do the people who actually need to swap shifts have to promote cross-training?

        1. Cordelia Naismith*

          I think she’s thinking that, if you want Christmas morning off, you might end up having to trade shifts with someone who does a job you don’t normally do, and so would need to request cross-training for yourself. It wouldn’t be a case of you asking for someone else to be cross-trained so you could switch with them.

          I still don’t think this is a good idea — the resentment against management must be really high in this scenario — but I can see how it would promote cross-training.

          1. Cordelia Naismith*

            Although, admittedly, it would rely on the person you’re switching with to also be willing to request cross-training for themselves. If both of you want to switch, it could work, but if only one wants to switch, then you’re right, it wouldn’t.

          2. Elsajeni*

            Ah, that’s a fair point — it hadn’t occurred to me because my retail experience has been in places where everyone WANTED to be trained on every function (you get more hours that way!), but training opportunities were limited by the manager’s availability, how busy the store was, etc. Yes, if you have plenty of existing opportunities for cross-training but have a hard time motivating people to take them, I can see how this might help a little. But I agree with you that it’s still not a good plan.

    8. The Other Dawn*

      I’d be totally pissed if I was purposely scheduled during hours in which I had plans, and then told, “Just kidding, you can switch shifts!” What if no other coworker wants to switch with me, or wants to but can’t do my particular job? Does that mean I totally ditch my plans for two hours of work? Or do I go out and tell my friends, “Sorry, gotta leave but I’ll be back.” Sounds like a good way to breed resentment amongst employees. Also, two hours? I can see that it would minimize the impact of having to go to work on a holiday, but it seems like a waste. By the time I get ready and drive there, two hours isn’t worth my time. I’d rather work either a half day or full day. At least I can plan around that; I know I won’t be home all day so I can plan dinner for a later time.

    9. INTP*

      I feel like what would happen here is everyone just trying to pawn their shifts off on someone else, because who really wants to get dressed and drive into work for 2 hours pay on any day, let alone a holiday? I guess it would be good for someone who can’t go be with their families anyways to rack up 12 hours’ worth of work (especially if holiday pay is offered) and be everyone’s bff in the process. But if it doesn’t work out for someone and they aren’t able to trade in their shift for one they want or get someone else to take it…not good. I’d be pissed if I couldn’t visit family over a holiday for 2 hours worth of pay due to a “team building exercise.”

    10. we see tibet with the binoculars of the people*

      In my experience whenever the Powers That Be decide on a policy that’s intended to ‘stimulate interaction’ by inconveniencing the people, it’s not a good move.

      But I can see SandyB’s plan working reasonably well. It reminds me of a technique called “Simulated Annealing”. Or – perhaps better – Adam Smith’s “invisible hand of the market”. I can see management liking this a lot, because if you think about it, fair preemptive scheduling of holiday shifts can take a LOT of time. This technique requires very little time on the part of the manager – I mean, you could just assign the shifts at random and ask people to trade as necessary, and it would work out with about the same results. By purposefully scheduling people to times that they will hate, SandyB is – if I can go back to the Simulated Annealing analogy – “kickstarting” the process by pre-loading some elements with higher energy.

      It could perhaps also fail very badly, too. I don’t have a specific scenario in mind, but basically SandyB’s technique is treating the schedule as a marketplace. And sometimes people get greedy or otherwise attempt to ‘game’ the marketplace and problems arise.

    1. A Teacher*

      Why? That’s worse than just having to work one of them on a rotating basis. My sister knows every other year she will work Christmas and on the off year she works Christmas Eve, same with Thanksgiving and Black Friday. I’d be seriously annoyed if I had to stop what I was doing in the middle of my day to come in for 2 hours.

      1. Michele*

        Also, if you have much of a commute and the roads are bad, that two hours just got stretched into 4-5, and the day is pretty much blown. That policy is only a good idea if you are trying to make everyone hate you.

    2. Judy*

      I thought continuity of care was a big thing in hospitals? I’m not sure how 2 hour shifts in ICU is a good thing.

    3. Oryx*

      That is a really terrible policy. Knowing I have to go in for two hours on each of the big holidays is way worse than just sucking it up and working six hours on one of those holidays, or even two, if it meant I had the third one off free and clear.

    4. I'm a Little Teapot*

      Sucks for anyone whose family lives out of town (which, where I live, is an awful lot of people).

  7. Mabel*

    SandyB, I don’t understand this part: “I made it a point to schedule people who wanted to go out on New Year’s Eve from 10PM to Midnight and young parents to Christmas morning.” It sounds like you assigned people shifts that those people specifically would not want. If I’m understanding that correctly, why did you do that? And if I’m not, could you explain it a bit more?

    1. Empress Zhark*

      From reading SandyB’s comment, I think she scheduled this deliberately so that all the staff would have to talk to each other and co-operate so they got the shifts they wanted. I can understand the logic behind it, but as an employee that tactic would *really* make me mad. If you want to create a happy, harmonious team there are ways to do that which don’t involve riling your staff members.

        1. Former Diet Coke Addict*

          Bingo. Being scheduled a two-hour shift, in retail or call center work, on a holiday is a quick way to have a nice little discussion of “WTF is going on here?” between all employees and encourage just terrible morale.

          1. BRR*

            Short shifts are terrible when being paid hourly. My husband works retails and he used to have to work a four hour shift here or there and after taxes he would rather just not get the 20-25 bucks and get four hours of his day back.

        2. mweis77*

          Made my comment before I scrolled down and saw yours – exactly. And guess what will come up as a topic of conversation with every holiday schedule moving forward? What the warnings to new hires asking about holiday schedules will be?

        3. INTP*

          This is so true. I never worked with a tighter-knit team than the one where we all hated both the owner of the company and our boss. We laughed together, we (literally, at work) cried together, we were like siblings. It was a team-building-obsessed manager’s wet dream. And none of us did any work when the managers weren’t in the office with us because we were too busy bonding over our shared resentments.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        For a two hour shift? I don’t know about everyone else, but I would spend more time getting ready to go, driving there and driving home than I did at work. That would tick me off. But I am one of these people that figures out how much it costs in gas to go to work each day.

        1. Seal*

          Agreed. I had a boss who tried to do that for regular non-holiday shifts when I was in college. Since the majority of her staff had to drive some distance to get to work and were making not much more than minimum wage, everyone politely refused and started looking for other jobs (this was back in the 80s when it was relatively easy to find part-time work on campus). She quickly got the hint and redid the schedule.

          To me, knowingly setting a holiday schedule where everyone is given their least desirable work shift as a team building exercise is a jerk move on the part of the manager. There are far, FAR better ways to build team unity than forcing everyone to beg and bargain with each other for time off over the holidays.

          1. Sonja*

            Cosign! Imagine someone is making minimum wage, and has to spend an hour’s worth of pay each day on bus fare, and commute 40 minutes each way. Basically that boss would make them travel more than an hour, total, to make $7 or whatever—less after taxes. That sucks majorly.

            1. Former Min Wage Earner*

              I used to be in that exact situation – 4 hour shift at $7.65 an hour. Luckily my parents were covering the car payment and insurance, but accounting for gas still cost me $0.50 for the 2 mile roundtrip to work. After factoring in what I was paying just for rent and utilities, I was coming out with $11.00 after a 4 hour shift. No wonder I couldn’t afford toothpaste.

        2. Katie the Fed*

          Not to mention that knowing you have to go in at all is just a looming black cloud over the entire day.

        3. INTP*

          Especially on a holiday. If I can’t visit my family on Christmas but I’m being paid for 10 hours, fair enough. If I can’t because I have to work for 2 hours and spend the rest of the day alone in my apartment, and it was part of a team-building exercise, I would be very pissed. (I get that the 2 hour shift can seem like a good idea to people who live in the same town as their family members. No one has to miss the entire celebration, you drive in for 2 hours and do your work and get back to the party and hopefully your family is nice enough to schedule the meal around it. But for people that have to drive even an hour or two to see their families, let alone fly, a 2 hour shift in the middle of the day can mean not getting to go at all.)

    2. A Dispatcher*

      At first I thought it was sarcasm/a joke, but it seems like it was meant to foster a sense of teamwork/camaraderie when everyone had to work together to switch shifts. To me this sounds like a nightmare and would indeed cause coworkers to band together, however it would be in a mutual annoyance with management for implementing something like that.

      It sounds like it worked out well though and helped combat some of the normal seniority issues that arise when it comes to holiday scheduling so I suppose it depends on the individual workplace.

      1. Cheesecake*

        I have good work relations with all my co-workers. But i can see how this shift swapping will ruin it in a second. And the fact that Judy got Christmas evening off and Percival did not will linger in the air until next Christmas

        1. ExceptionToTheRule*

          Nothing ruins working relationships between co-workers like holiday scheduling in a 24/7/365 business. As the person taking care of the schedule you’ll never, ever get it right.

    3. Trillian*

      I read it as meaning people were scheduled to be off rather than scheduled to be on. Staff members could then refine their preferences further by trading shifts, and the team building effect was unanticipated.

  8. Cheesecake*

    “My boss states that a holiday is a holiday and that working one is the same as working another.”
    OP1, Because you already have very in-advance arrangements for 2015 Thanksgiving that can not be changed, you will be happy to do Columbus day. And you assume this is not a problem for the boss, because holiday is a holiday and working one is the same as working another, right?

    Honestly, i think your boss sucks. Not only he gave you ALL the big holidays, without mixing them somehow with, say V. day, but he tells you the nonsense of how it does not matter. You absolutely have to voice your concern. If you did this for 2 years without complaining, they assume it is a great way to avoid any “holiday schedule” conflict; they just assign all to the person who is ok with it.

  9. Not So NewReader*

    OP1. I do agree with you, it sucks. But I worked enough of retail to say that you actually might have a fairly decent deal. You have two “eves” that you work and you work TG night.

    This means other people are working Christmas day, New Years day and Thanksgiving day.

    There are 14 people in your group. This actually sounds normal to me, given that few people. Fourteen people is just not that many people when you have to cover all the holidays. If you ever had to write a schedule for 14 people that would jump out at you.

    In many retail environments working the eve of the holiday is perceived as being “given a break”. Try to be aware that you may have a coworker who is hopping mad about the deal you have. I have seen this too many times. It’s inherent in the environment. Notice I am not saying it is right. noooo. I am just saying this is how it goes in many places.

    I think that the one thing the boss could do is allow people to switch. I had a boss do that, the rule being that you had to be darn sure your replacement would actually show up. What I have done in those cases is find a few trustworthy people and we would switch through out there year- bailing each other out as necessary.

    The other thing I see that the boss can do is revamp the holiday schedule each year so each person is not taking the exact same shift on Christmas, etc each year. That gets tedious when you know you are THE person who has to be in a noon on Christmas every year.

    Last thought. One job I had I went in and volunteered to work a double on Christmas. I don’t have family near by. I like going to midnight service Christmas eve, so Christmas day was easier for me than other people. In return, the boss gave me other holidays off. If you have a preference that you feel comfortable volunteering for, that may give you some leverage in this conversation. I know my boss’ eyebrows went right up when I made that offer.

    1. Kelly L.*

      Actually, I was thinking that Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and Thanksgiving Day might be the very few days the whole shebang is actually closed and everybody’s off. This might be a point in need of clarification from the OP.

        1. Liane*

          If the OP were working in a retail pharmacy, yes, it would probably be closed on those 3 Days, even while the rest of the store was open at least for limited hours. That’s how it works at MyJob.
          But OP states they work at a “federal hospital,” which I am pretty sure means a Veterans Administration hospital. I know their pharmacies have pharmacists on duty all the time; like all hospitals they are going to have new prescriptions at all times, not just for inpatients/new admissions but people visiting the ER.

          I also think this is a Bad Management Technique. But, OP, do talk to the manager. It works. Every year, as early as possible, I ask for a half-day on Christmas Eve, via the computer request system, because I will be in church. Then I talk to my manager at least once: “I put in for Christmas Eve & I know giving me that off is really unlikely. But all I really need is to please be off by X PM, as we have services, & I’m in choir. I can come in as early as you need me to if that will help make it possible.” (Our computer allows you to ask for time off in hourly increments, but not specific times. Go figure) Never had a problem with getting the time I need.

          And OP, thanks for what you do. I’ve been in our local VA hospital’s ER nights & weekends with my husband sometimes.

          1. De Minimis*

            Yeah my sister works as an in-patient pharmacist at her job, so she has to work all sorts of hours sometimes.

      1. KAZ2Y5*

        If the OP works at a hospital large enough to justify 14 pharmacists, they probably have a pharmacy open 24/7/365.

      2. Pharmgirl88*

        A hospital pharmacy likely won’t close – it’s needed 24 hours for inpatients, the ER, etc.

  10. Juli G.*

    OP1, I was with you until the end. Are you saying that you think December 23rd and 30th also carry some holiday weight? I think your initial complaint has merit but I would be careful of going over the top.

    And since Christmas Eve and NYE aren’t “holidays”, are you able to use vacation to take them off and secure your freedom? Depending on the year, they aren’t always holidays for me and since Christmas Eve is special to me, I use vacation.

    1. Lore*

      I don’t think she means December 23 and 30 but rather that she’s got eve-as-in-evening shifts on both days where the evening is the holiday–she wouldn’t be as annoyed with day shifts on either of those days.

  11. Ali*

    #1 happened to me at my job. I was hoping to get one of Thanksgiving or Christmas off (I realized that with the nature of my work, it was unreasonable to ask for both off, but I was hoping I’d have had enough standing to get one), and my manager told me no and expressed disapproval in both cases. However, he gave at least one of those holidays off to two people who had less standing on the team than I did. And one person, who had already been granted a substantial amount of time off earlier in the year, got out of working on both Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. It really hurt me, as my boss said these people got it off but would have to work other times they normally wouldn’t have. However, if he had told me that was the problem, I’d have been willing to compromise and work another shift I wouldn’t have. But he didn’t, which showed how much he valued me. (Not at all.) I’m looking elsewhere now.

  12. Katie the Fed*

    OK, either I’m an evil boss myself, or I’m completely missing something on Question 1. This really doesn’t seem like that raw a deal. You’re not working Christmas or New Year (depending on what time your shift ends on NYE, you still have plenty of time to get ready and go out). You’re working just part of Thanksgiving. You still have Labor Day off.

    Here, these are all the federal holidays. I’ll put an asterix by the ones I think are significant for family or religious reasons:

    New Years Day*
    MLK Day
    Presidents Day
    Memorial Day*
    Independence Day*
    Labor Day*
    Columbus Day
    Veterans Day

    That’s 6 important holidays, and you’re only working 2.5 of them. That’s really not that bad. The only place I think your boss erred was not giving you either Thanksgiving completely off or Christmas.

    PLUS, in at least one case, Independence Day, the actual federal holiday is 3 July because the 4th is a Saturday. So you still get the Federal holiday.

    When you work in environments where holiday work is required, you and your family learn to adjust to it – celebrations might be slightly later, or you travel Christmas morning when flights are cheaper anyway, and you make little adjustments.

    Are you guys allowed to trade assigned schedules? I’ll bet that would help a lot. Me, I’d be happy to work some of those in exchange for Columbus Day or Veterans Day – those are my favorite travel times.

    1. Sabrina*

      Just want to point out that folks who work in hospitals don’t generally get weekends of just because they are holidays.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        Oh yeah, good point! I think this is just the nature of this type of work. Lots of jobs are like that.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        I’m good with changing the reason for it, but I LOVE a random day off mid-October. The weather is almost always beautiful and it’s a lovely day to have off.

        1. jhhj*

          This is why I continue to claim that Canadian Thanksgiving is a better time of year than US Thanksgiving. (It could be a week later, but to have nothing off for nearly 3 months in the fall almost killed me my first year in school in the US.)

            1. BRR*

              I don’t get anything between New Year’s Day and Memorial Day. Yes first world problem but it’s hard. I agree to rename it. Like Autumn mental health day.

              1. Allison*

                “Autumn mental health day”

                I like this :) In fact, let’s put a Spring Mental Health day in April or March too. The calendar could use a couple more long weekends.

                1. Chinook*

                  “I like this :) In fact, let’s put a Spring Mental Health day in April or March too. The calendar could use a couple more long weekends.”

                  In Alberta, we started a trend with a February “Family Day” Monday off. I think it was created in self-defence of cabin fever. It spread across the country and each province calls it something else (some Family Day, Manitoba has Louis Riel Day, others a type of Heritage Day). It is definitely nice to be in the middle of a miserable month and to wake up on a Monday morning, think “yeah! – no school/work & no obligatory religious or family event,” and then go back to sleep.

            2. E*

              I was stunned when I moved to Boston at the additional spring holidays. Most offices are closed for Patriot’s Day, and a good amount are for Evacuation Day and Bunker Hill Day.

              1. LBK*

                I don’t think it’s THAT common for offices in Boston to be closed for those holidays. I don’t get any of them off and all of my friends that I can think of offhand have to take off Patriot’s Day and Evacuation Day (which is usually taken off because it’s the same day as St. Patrick’s Day). I don’t even know what Bunker Hill Day is.

                1. City Planner*

                  Bunker Hill Day is in June. When I was in grad school & the place I interned (full-time in the summer) closed for Bunker Hill Day, that was the best surprise day off ever!

                2. LBK*

                  I didn’t mean offices are closed for St. Patrick’s Day, I mean people take it off because of that (as opposed to taking it off to celebrate Evacuation Day). Boston has one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the US if not the largest, it’s a crazy party day here.

              2. Alter_ego*

                I’ve lived in Boston for 7 years now, and I haven’t even heard of Evacuation day or Bunker Hill day. We got Patriots Day off when I was in school, but never in any job that I’ve worked.

              3. Hous*

                My Boston jobs have acknowledged Patriot’s Day as a floating holiday, but not Evacuation Day or Bunker Hill Day. I was particularly confused by people who told me Patriot’s Day was a Massachusetts holiday, as I grew up in Western Mass and had never heard of it until I moved to Boston.

            3. Allison*

              Boston has a Monday holiday in April, officially called “Patriots Day” even though it’s generally considered a made-up excuse to close for the marathon. Schools are closed, as are many offices, although I’ve never worked for a company that closed its office on that day.

            4. jhhj*

              We get our choice of Easter Friday/Monday here, but it’s still nothing from January to April, usually. No sun, no holidays, no hope.

              (I don’t much like winter. Can you tell?)

            5. De Minimis*

              I know, worst time of the year! Really wish they could come up with a spring federal holiday, maybe get rid of Columbus Day and do something else. We always feel weird here getting off for Columbus Day since our agency serves American Indians, but it’s a holiday so we’re closed. A lot of the larger tribes though operate their own facilities and they do not observe Columbus Day, though some come up with their own holiday around the same time.

              In California I think they have Cesar Chavez Day as a state holiday at the end of March. Wish we could get that one as a federal holiday!

              1. NJ Anon*

                This is what floating holidays are for. Also, we have he option of working an official “the office is closed” holiday and switching it for another day. I did that for MLK, switched it to the day after Thanksgiving.

              1. Leisabet*

                I was coming down here to say the same thing (I’m in Australia). The June-October stretch is brutal – I always try to book a couple of long weekends out of my annual leave in August/September just so I don’t go nuts.

                Are you guys getting a public holiday for ANZAC Day? We’re not, it falls on a Saturday this year and whoever decides these things believes we should lose the public holiday because of this. I’m feeling pretty tragic about it…

                1. MJ (Aotearoa/New Zealand)*

                  Last year we passed legislation to Mondayise ANZAC Day and Waitangi Day (6th Feb, kinda equivalent to Australia Day I guess) when they fall on a weekend, so this is the first year it’ll take effect for ANZAC Day. I’m a payroll specialist, so while I’m glad I personally get my Monday off, Mondayising holidays that fall on the weekend is a bloody nightmare from a work perspective.

              2. Amy*

                NZ gets the Queen’s birthday off work? Ha, that’s so bizarre when the UK doesn’t!

            6. Natalie*

              My company gives us Good Friday off, I think mostly because it’s in March or April so it breaks up that slog. Also Patriots Day if you’re at our corporate office in Boston.

          1. Loose Seal*

            In Georgia, state employees get Confederate Memorial Day off, which is celebrated on a Monday in April. I’m embarrassed to tell people why I’m off but I really enjoy having that break between President’s Day and Memorial Dayl.

      2. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Let’s all start calling it Bartolome Day!

        To avoid being moderated, I’m not including the link; just Google “Bartolome Columbus”. It’s from The Oatmeal. :)

        1. Sue Wilson*

          Naw, he’s just as bad as Columbus. How about naming that day so that it celebrates the Native people in America?

        2. The Strand*

          Haven’t read it all but googling it brings in some interesting debate about the Oatmeal’s take on Bartolome. I’m happy to see that, because there’s nothing wrong with discussing what a legacy is all about. I don’t want to totally dismiss that for many people in the Italian-American community Columbus Day has been a special time to celebrate their achievements too.

          Personally I think the world needs more holidays. Maybe not paid ones, but days where we can have fun eating Paczkis or celebrating kites or, like in Japan, little boys and little girls.

          1. Ita*

            I’m an Italian-American, and I appreciate that sentiment.

            I am embarrassed, though, that this is the man we choose to celebrate. There are so many other Italians or Italian-Americans to celebrate.

            Of course, I don’t know if I really have much of a right to this opinion. I don’t really look Italian and am white white.

      3. some1*

        When I worked for the city, we got the day after Thanksgiving as a paid holiday in lieu of Columbus Day.

        1. kozinskey*

          This is my preferred approach. I get Columbus Day off but I try to either work it for comp time, or do something that makes someone’s life better. Hard for me to justify a day of pampering myself on Columbus Day.

          1. De Minimis*

            In California the fourth Friday of September is designated as “California Indian Day.” I believe it’s an official state holiday, though I don’t know if all agencies observe it. A lot of workplaces especially those that work with Indian people will take it off as a holiday instead of Columbus Day.

            Looks like a couple of other states have done similar things. Odd that my state does not since we have such a large Indian population.

            1. Stranger than fiction*

              I live in CA and have never heard of this not on school holiday calendar no banks closing etc… But I think there’s just plain a lot of unofficial holidays out there judging from all these comments

    2. jag*

      MLK Day, President’s Day, Columbus Day and (for many people) Veterans Day are not important “family/gathering” holidays for many people.

      New Year’s Day isn’t really either – the typical gatherings are the night before.

    3. Bonnie*

      I agree those are the Federal holidays but one thing that hasen’t come up in this discussion about “family holidays” is Easter. Although not a Federal holiday it is a work day for a 24/7 pharmacy operation. If the OP does not celebrate Easter, it might be worth it to see if she can exchange that day off for one she covets more.

      1. De Minimis*

        It wouldn’t work though, because everyone has to be at work for Easter unless they are taking their personal leave time to be off.

        1. Katie the Fed*

          That’s probably not correct – might just depend how they’re scheduled for that week. They’re not working every single day of the year except for holidays.

          1. De Minimis*

            Oh that’s true, I forget it’s not like my workplace and some people probably have a weekday as their regular day off.

    4. Karowen*

      My feeling about Christmas/New Years Eve(s) is that no, it’s technically not a holiday, but so much happens those days. A lot of families have Christmas Eve traditions, and pretty much all of the celebration for New Year’s is on New Year’s Eve (and the OP doesn’t get off until 10:00pm, so it could be difficult to go home and get ready and get out). My office is open both of those days, but we close early so that people have a chance to participate in those traditions – and to be honest if I had to choose between working Christmas Eve or working any of the holidays that happen earlier in the year (including Thanksgiving), I’d rather be off on Christmas Eve. I’m not saying that they should get the same priority as legit holidays, but they are certainly a third-tier “holiday” (asterisked holidays being first-tier and non-asterisked-but-real being second).

      1. Katie the Fed*

        Yeah, I feel the same way about the day after Thanksgiving, which also isn’t a holiday but is kind of a pain if you’re scheduled for it. That’s why my policy is generally either Thanksgiving week OR Christmas week for your vacation – pick which one you prefer and I’ll do my best to work around it.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I’d rather just work on Black Friday if my family isn’t all getting together for the holiday. We don’t close for it because our clients are open, though quite a few people do take off days after a holiday. I had to work it this year; I had no PTO thanks to my UK trip.

    5. KAZ2Y5*

      This could be a raw deal. It is only a guess on my part (but an educated guess because I have lived this life). In most hospitals Thanksgiving, Xmas and NY are the “holy trinity” of holidays. It does usually slow down so less staff is required. I would guess that the pharmacy would only need 4 pharmacist per 24hr day (one for each shift and one for overlap during the busiest times). So you are looking at 8 shifts per holiday (T’giving/Black Friday, Xmas Eve/Xmas, NYE/NY) and 24 shifts total that would need to be covered. With 14 pharmacists, if each one took a shift some would only have to work one shift of the 3 holidays and the rest 2 shifts at the most.
      My bitterness may be showing ;-) but the manager may not work any holidays or certain people with small children may never be assigned T’giving or Xmas (because obviously if you don’t have little children at home you don’t celebrate the holidays!) Obviously there are a lots of assumptions on my part, but I can see with a staff of 14 that they would be upset to have to work at least one day of all 3 holidays.

    6. Kyrielle*

      And I would totally feel OP’s schedule was a raw deal, because n your list, only Thanksgiving and Christmas would have an asterisk for me. Fourth of July is fun, but whatever; MLK day falls near my birthday so I’m fond of getting it off; but Thanksgiving and Christmas are our two bigs, with Thanksgiving far the bigger since travel is required for our usual celebration. New Year’s? I have small children, I go to bed hours before the ball drops. Memorial and Labor Day? I…don’t think I celebrate those at all, except for a quiet moment of reflection on their meaning, some years. They’re three-day weekends, and in summer, which is nice, but not spectacular.

      1. Kyrielle*

        I should add, a while back my boss polled our entire team about what the “important” holidays were, that no one should have to work more than one of, or work two years running unless they volunteered.

        Team consensus was WILDLY on the side of “Thanksgiving and Christmas, nothing else” with about 1/4 of the team adding New Year’s to that, and nothing else even got a mention.

  13. Sabrina*

    To hijack off of #2, what do you do if several months into a job it changes, becoming a lot more complicated in what you do and considerably more technical? And all with no change in pay or title? Your options are suck it up or start looking, right?

    1. Technical Editor*

      You request a review of duties and salary at some agreed-upon interval (at 6 months or a year, or at the next performance review) with your boss. Also, log what you do, and list your accomplishments. Will come in handy!

      1. Sabrina*

        Yeah, done that. Boss agrees that we (everyone else on our team) are grossly underpaid, but upper management disagrees. Newer folks to the team are given the option of transferring, I wasn’t.

        1. Apollo Warbucks*

          I spent 12 months telling my boss I was underpaid and he couldn’t do anything about it so I left the firm. It’s disappointing but sometimes that is all than can be done.

          1. Sabrina*

            Oh yeah, he knows. I believe him that there’s nothing he can do about it. I am looking, again. I’d rather not, but I am. I had one recruiter ask how much I made and when I told her she asked if I only worked part time. *sigh*

  14. Julie*

    I think the big problem with having to work part of a holiday that people typically travel for is that you can’t travel at all. OP#1 can’t visit family for Thanksgiving or Christmas with that schedule. My sister-in-law is a nurse and has to set schedules for her employees. She typically gives people some options when it comes to the winter holidays. She treats Thanksgiving/Black Friday, Christmas Eve/Christmas Day, NYE/New Year’s Day as pairs. She requires employees to work 3 of the 6 days with at least 1 being the holiday itself. Employees can voice a preference if they want to work 1 of each set or if there’s a specific set of holidays they want off for.

    The nurses will typically work 8-12 hours on their chosen days and she offers bonuses to people willing to work more than the 3 shifts in that time. Now, she’s lucky she has the authority to do bonuses but she says the scheduling is so much easier since she made the changes. Employees feel listened to, she has enough coverage (often more than enough), and she even gets time off at the holidays too.

    I don’t know how she handles the rest of the year but winter is easy for her. Strangely I believe (November) Election Day is her real issue now. No one gets it off but they all want to take the day off to “vote” when shorter shifts would accomplish the same. People swap shifts to take the day off and then the person who takes on the new shift (pulling two halves) invokes their right to miss work to go vote and no one is left behind. Nothing is ever easy!

    1. De Minimis*

      I know this past holiday season we just changed the celebration times for the holidays to the following Saturdays.
      Of course, it’s easier to do that when it’s a smaller family.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        My family won’t do that. It’s very annoying–if people will all be there on the weekend and I could come then, changing it means I could be there, but it HAS to be on the day of.

        It might be easier for people if Christmas and New Year’s Day were set the way Thanksgiving is–the fourth Thursday or Friday of the month, instead of a calendar date that migrates through the week every year.

        1. ThursdaysGeek*

          I think everyone in my family agrees that Christmas in October at the Oregon coast is the best time and place. The weather is usually still good, the roads aren’t dangerous, and if we’re spending money on renting a house for the weekend, then just being with each other are gifts enough.

  15. De Minimis*

    #1 As far as the idea that “the eves should count for something too…,” it sucks but that’s one of the tradeoffs of being a government employee. You get extra holidays, but you don’t get any “unofficial” holidays that a lot of other people get off, like any of the “eves” or the days after Thanksgiving/Christmas.

    We *sometimes* will get Christmas Eve off, but it depends on the whim of the President and also usually on what day of the week Christmas falls….and in healthcare, you probably won’t be off for it even then–the director of our agency was adamant that we could not be off if we’d scheduled any appointments for that day.

    1. Iro*

      I think it’s a little bit different to be scheduled to work the morning shift of an “eve” versues the evening shift of an eve.

    2. Michele*

      That is true. When I worked for the federal government, it was annoying that we had Columbus day off, but had to take a vacation day for Christmas eve or the day after Thanksgiving.

      1. Loose Seal*

        A couple of years ago, when Independence Day fell on a Thursday, our county courthouse employees asked if they could work New Year’s Day and take that holiday on July 5th so they could have a four-day weekend in the summer. I was a bit stunned to find it got approved. Who in the community would think to go get their tags renewed on Jan. 1? I’m sure it was the slowest workday in history.

  16. 42*

    #1: I don’t know if this has been mentioned in the comments, but when I worked in a hospital setting, my department was put into Group A and Group B. Each group was assigned opposite holidays. And the next year the assigned holidays would switch to the other group. Fair and easy to do.

    1. The Strand*

      Great idea, and solid management… I’m sure Group A and Group B, if friendships developed, could build on the camraderie each holiday period.

  17. illini02*

    #1 I’m going to agree that it doesn’t seem THAT bad to me, mainly because you want to count Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve, and New Years Day as the same. The day’s themselves are holidays, not the “Eves” so you are getting 2 of those holidays off. While the eves are nice to have’s, I don’t consider those the same as working on the day. I get some families celebrate Christmas Eve more than Christmas, etc, but you didn’t end up with as raw of a deal as you are making it out to be.

    #5 I agree with Alison here. Mentioning your parental status has nothing to do with your ability to do the job, unless as someone mentioned, you are writing a first person account. It would be like me “subltely” slipping in the fact that I’m black into a cover letter. Unless I’m writing a “Black in America” column or something like that, it really has nothing to do with my ability to do the job.

    1. Traveler*

      I get some families celebrate Christmas Eve more than Christmas, etc, but you didn’t end up with as raw of a deal as you are making it out to be

      The Christian liturgical day starts at sun down because Jesus is said to have been born at night. Several cultures celebrate almost exclusively on Christmas Eve – going to church, having dinner, etc. For those of us that celebrate that way it would be a pretty raw deal, because working Christmas Eve would mean you missed Christmas celebrations. Christmas just becomes a day when everything is closed and there’s nothing to do (except watch a movie and go to Waffle House/get Chinese food – but I’d rather spend the holiday with my family).

      1. illini02*

        Sure, but this is a 24/365 job, so everyone is going to work some things. Some people may celebrate Hannukah or Kwanzaa and have to work those. I get your overall point, but my comment was essentially that if you are considering the eves the same as the holiday, then you are going to be disappointed, because that highly skews the amount of “holiday” coverage that is required.

        1. Traveler*

          Right – and when I could I happily traded people Christmas Day for Christmas Eve, so we could both get to enjoy our holiday. It’s just if my boss knew that I celebrated Christmas Eve, and they kept scheduling me Christmas Eve, and told me that was the same as my coworkers working Presidents Day or Columbus Day – I’d be arguing that I was getting a pretty raw deal. I’d be interested to know what religious or cultural celebrations they were partaking in on Presidents Day that they were making an equivalent sacrifice in foregoing it.

          I think its a little different from Hannukah and Kwanzaa because if someone wanted to celebrate those and have off, it’d be easier to cover since there’d be more options for coverage because the dominant culture in the US is typically Christian or at least secular celebrations of Christmas. Christmas Eve a lot of people do something (and some do everything), so I think it would be fair to rotate that around.

    2. Spiky Plant*

      I totally agree on #1. Since OP is not working either Christmas Day, New Years Day, can still celebrate New Years Eve just fine, and can schedule a fairly typical afternoon Thanksgiving feast, I’m just not seeing how OP is that put-upon. Yeah, it would be nice if there were a little more holiday rotation (maybe OP can switch shifts?) but I can speak from experience and say that holiday scheduling is REALLY hard.

      It’s easy to think “Well, I only care about Xmas Eve, so that should be easy” when you’re only considering your own needs. The person scheduling has to try to account for 14 different peoples’ preferences, many of which will be conflicting. It could be that last year, the manager tried this arrangement and got overwhelmingly positive feedback, and thus decided to just do the same thing again this year (so, if OP has never voiced their discontent, it’s obviously not going to be known or taken into account).

      But yeah, I about guarantee that nobody got Xmas, Xmas Eve, Thanksgiving, NYE and NYD all off. Bunches of people are working Xmas. Bunches of people are working NYE such that they can’t go party. Bunches of people are working NYD such that they can’t be hung over from NYE. OP’s schedule seems entirely, 100% reasonable to me, and if its not, the onus is on OP to make that known.

  18. Iro*

    #4 That’s just weird. I have no idea why a anyone would consider “not disclosing your wife also applied for this position previously” as a terminal offense.

    There’s only two situtations I can think of where not dislosing this would be a problem:
    1) What alison said, she currently works there.
    2) During the application process they mentioned to your wife that while she doesn’t work out for role X, they will consider her for role Y opening up in a few months.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      It seems to me they could have just asked. I would not think to mention that my husband applied there x months ago. That would be tossed into the attic of my memory banks, as “over, done, kaput.”

      I would kind of think that OP dodged a bullet. Her ESP doesn’t work well enough to suit them anyway! ;)

    2. Stranger than fiction*

      Yes this and why not just ask them and point out the fact that she is mentioned on the application

    3. Traveler*

      I would guess (and its an unfounded one so take it FWIW) that there might be a test, or repeated interview questions or the belief that they have some sort of “inside” information because their spouse had already interviewed. Which is still weird – unless we’re talkin’ the CIA or something here.

  19. Xarcady*

    #1. The problem here is the the boss is treating the “Eves” of Christmas and New Year’s as holidays. If they were treated as the non-holidays that they officially are, staff would rotate through them as usual.

    But I think the whole system is odd–except for volunteers and people forced to work retail Black Friday, I don’t know of any work place that doesn’t at least try to rotate which staff get which holidays.

    I also wonder if the OP is either single or does not have children–I could see someone thinking, “Okay, Sally doesn’t have kids so she doesn’t need to be home Christmas Eve” — that sort of thing.

    1. illini02*

      The manager actually isn’t considering the “Eves” as holidays, the OP is. The OP has to work 3 actual holidays, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, and 4th of July. OP is just angry that they also have to work Christmas Eve and New Years Eve.

      1. Xarcady*

        My interpretation was that the OP is scheduled every year for Christmas Eve and New Years Eve–that her manager is treating those “eves” as holidays and putting them into the holiday schedule and treating them as holidays for the sake of this odd, permanent holiday schedule. The OP states that she has been working these days for the past two years.

        So yes, you are correct that the OP is only working three actual holidays. But many people have some sort of family celebration/gathering on Christmas Eve, and I’d wager that most people see New Year’s Eve as the celebration and not New Year’s Day itself.

        So I I can see why someone would be annoyed/put out by always having to work those evenings.

        But then, to me, the whole idea of permanently assigning specific holidays to specific employees, barring said employee asking to always work that holiday, seems like a bad idea.

        1. Mike B.*

          I interpreted it in a different way still–that the policy was that no employee would be assigned to work more than three holidays, but the two holiday eves (assigned at the same time) didn’t count against that and so the OP had in effect been assigned five.

  20. Michele*

    #1 Sounds a lot like the boss is playing favorites, unless it is a seniority thing, and seniority is a big factor for a lot of things in the federal government. I have to wonder if this is indicative of some other problems at work. If so, pharmacists are in high demand, and it could be worthwhile to put your resume out there.

    1. De Minimis*

      Some federal workplaces are unionized and if the OPs is one of those it might be worth investigating to see if there’s anything about how holiday scheduling is handled.

      I don’t know if there’s anything at my workplace where seniority plays a role, though that is contrasted with my job at the Post Office where seniority played a role in almost every single detail.

      I’ve actually heard the opposite about pharmacists, that it’s become another oversaturated field and is going to be affected by technology.

      1. KAZ2Y5*

        Pharmacy used to be in high demand. I know there was a period of about 10-15 years after I graduated where I could basically have whatever job I wanted. But it has drastically changed. They are increasing the number of pharmacy colleges (and therefore the number of students/future pharmacists).
        I just applied for a night-shift hospital position and found out they don’t offer the pharmacists in that position any PTO (and yes, it is a full time position). That would have never happened even a few years ago.

        1. Michele*

          I didn’t realize it had changed that much. 10-15 years ago, I knew it was a really in demand field. It is sad to hear that another good job is gone.

          1. De Minimis*

            My sister feels she was lucky to get in when she did, according to her it is really tough for people starting out now.

            1. KAZ2Y5*

              I’m with your sister. I’m glad I got in when I did, but I can’t recommend pharmacy as wholeheartedly as I once did.

  21. The Strand*

    OP #1, I hope things work out in a way that everyone feels is equitable. I’m sure that if you work for the VA or a similar institution, getting Veterans Day off is a fairly big deal for some of your coworkers (it is for me: getting the day off means I can go to a flag raising with my friends and some family), so maybe try that route if your supervisor won’t give you satisfaction.

    The comments here have encouraged me to add all my husband’s Yankee holidays which we did not celebrate in my (northern) neck of the woods: Evacuation Day (aka Green Beer Day), Patriots Day, and Bunker Hill Day. Good ol’ Boston.

    I also never got off Juneteenth or Good Friday till I came down South. My coworkers and my boss all thought I was a weirdo when I asked, “We get Good Friday off?” even though the vast majority of the country does not celebrate it as a state holiday.

    1. De Minimis*

      I know at the post office we had a guy who had pretty low seniority so he had to work almost all the holidays. He would always call in sick for Veteran’s Day because he was a veteran and he didn’t think it was right that he be forced to work on that holiday. I couldn’t fault him for that.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        The post office? A vet? ugh.
        I am glad he took matters into his own hands and just called in. I would think the PO could do better than that, but I guess not.

        1. De Minimis*

          It was the worst place I’ve ever worked as far as being reasonable with people as far as time off. And as a result I think it had the most rampant amount of sick leave abuse, absenteeism issues, and so on.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Yep, that’s the way that cookie crumbles. I have heard the stories. It’s not pretty. At all.

          2. The Strand*

            I am so sorry he had to do that. Most federal and state offices (I know the PO is a special case but still…) are good about Veterans Day, at least one of the state institutions I worked for had events people could attend during the workday.

            But yeah, the post office… I used to read Postalwatch before its owner passed away, and I remember some of the aggregated news he republished suggested the high number of veterans in management for the kind of issues you experienced. I find that very strange, since clearly veterans were also, like your colleague, suffering from the bad management. I’ve also never seen evidence that veterans are worse managers of institutions or groups.

    2. Iro*

      I had the same experience when I moved up north except it was “Wait, we get Columbus day off? But not Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday?”

      1. The Strand*

        Really? We always had MLK Day as a minimum half day where I grew up, so that surprises me to hear that.

      2. LBK*

        Where in the north? I’ve lived in New England for the majority of my life and have always had MLK Day as a day off, both professionally and when I was in school.

  22. Scott*

    #3: If it’s any help in terms of your thinking, a work lunch is WORK, not a social event.

    If I called up my friends and said “hey, lets go out to lunch” and I took two hours then that’s a social lunch and I shouldn’t be paid.

    If my boss takes me out to lunch and it goes two hours, it’s still WORK because they initiated the lunch, and I’m kind of obligated to go.

    I seriously wouldn’t even sweat an occasional lunch out with the group of co-workers. It’s team building and it’s all part of work so of course you should be paid.

    1. Iro*

      I personally think seniority is the absolute wrong way to go about these sorts of assignments. If I start in 2014 and Wakeen starts in 2013 Wakeen will ALWAYS be senior to me so I will always have the burden of the worse holidays which will naturally impact my moral.

      Also when it comes to seniority, a lot of managers will base it on seniority to the team, and not seniority to the company overall (because that takes time to lookup). As someone who was promoted frequently at my previous company (3 times in 2 years) I was always “new” to the team so I always had to work 4th of July, Christmas, and Thanksgiving so I could never travel to see my family (who happen to live thousands of miles away). As a “star” performer (their words not mine) I was always flabbergasted why they kept sticking me with the worse workdays.

    2. Krystal*

      Ugh. I used to work at a place where “seniority” was first, and then “family obligations”. Meaning that the general manager would take off the entire 2 weeks at the end of the year, and then anyone with kids would get next dibs. So annoying.

  23. Wren*

    Oh boy! #3 is something my coworker and I deal with a couple of times a year. We know the level of disfunction here and can see no good come of walking into that minefield, so we just suck it up. At least it is only about twice a year for us. Sounds like it happens more often for OP #3. However, given that it sounds like a bigger company and not a highly disfunctional small family business, bringing it up in the manner suggested by Alison seems a lot less fraught.

Comments are closed.