Monday, December 29, 2008

Suiting Up

So, I find myself working this week. This is a bit of a change for me, as I have traditionally taken the time between Christmas and New Years off from work. In fact, this might be the first year since 1999 when I have done this. In case you are wondering, it isn't a situation where I am out of vacation days, and have to work. According to my company's online scheduling tool, I currently have over 128 hours of vacation stored up (note that this may not account for the 24 hours I took for the three days before Christmas, so it might be a bit less), so I obviously could have taken the time off if I had really wanted. That being said, there can be some benefits to being at work when little else is going on.

1. If you are at work when nobody else is, you get to handle everything that crops up. This can be good or bad, but historically for me this has been good. For example, right before Christmas we got a request for a proposal for a bunch of audit work at a local St. Louis company. Normally the big wigs would handle this, but since they are all on vacation I get to step up and handle some higher-level work that I would normally not get to do, because they know I am available. Which I guess has more to do with letting the right people know you will be working, rather than just showing up when nobody knows you're there.

2. You can leave a bit early and the only people who will know about it either don't care (because they are doing the same thing), or, well, let's be honest; nobody here this week cares about how many hours you sit at your desk.

3. You get to spend time with the new hires, who haven't earned enough vacation time to take off. This might not seem very important, but in my line of work it can help to spend some time with the new people and figure out who is, and who isn't, competent. See, I'm probably going to have to work with these guys and gals at some point in the future, so getting some preliminary intelligence on them can only help.

4. You can dress up without people thinking you're going to an interview for another job. I'm actually wearing suits to work all this week, because I have a bunch and I haven't had to wear one in three months. Also, for the record, I look pretty stylin' in a sharply cut suit and should wear them more often than I do. However, modern America has become so casual that wearing a suit is generally cause for ridicule and mistrust, unless you're at a wedding or a funeral. And those things are getting more and more casual all the time, too. So, anyway, I like wearing suits, so I'm wearing them this week because I can. (Note: I said I'm wearing suits, not ties. Ties are for chumps and people who want to strangle themselves to death, but suits are great.)

5. Rush hour traffic is a joke. This is partly due to the fact that 3/4 of the workforce is at home or visiting relatives, and partly due to the fact that many of those who are working are long gone before 4 P.M. rolls around.

6. If you have actual work to do, there is hardly anybody around to bug you and keep you from getting it done, so I can be crazy productive. Not that there is usually much to do, but see #1 above for this year's situation.

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