Let's revamp holidays for workers.
|Why is today a holiday for me?
Mon, Jan 15, 2001
You’d think someone could enjoy a holiday without political posturing.
Today is Martin Luther King Day and I am enjoying a day off from work. You won’t get any complaints from me, although I am doing nothing to honor the man for whom this holiday was created. Before you get irate, I don’t honor the people for whom other holidays are created either, so I’m not being prejudiced.
Then again, there is nothing inherently wrong with prejudice, but that’s a topic for another editorial.
It was ironic that, until this year, the holiday was actually Jackson-Lee-King Day all rolled into one holiday. Here in Virginia we had a day to simultaneously honor Generals Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee, as well as Martin Luther King. That was a riot (figurative riot, not a real one), and I almost wished we’d kept the three-way holiday the same for its ironic uniqueness.
We have to stop creating holidays for famous and sterling people. No matter that they deserve the honor, no matter that we want to honor them (at least some do honor them on their “days”), no matter how compelling an argument we come up with to honor a particular heroic person, we will run out of days.
There are only 356 days or so a year. As time goes on, we are going to fill all those slots. Is there a solution, or do we just have every day off and never accomplish anything productive? Well, gentle folk, I have a solution, as you knew I would.
Why not declare, by law, that every company must give each employee 10 to 15 holidays a year. It would be up to the individual employee which days to take off. For instance, a Christian may choose Christmas Day as one such holiday, while a Jew would choose Hanukkah, and a Wiccan would choose Halloween. For the rest of the year, each employee could take days off to honor anyone they chose. I would use my 9 remaining days to honor people such as Stephen Hawkings, Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, Robert E. Lee, King Macbeth (the real one), Copernicus, Genghis Khan, Isaac Asimov, and my Wife. One could choose any person or event to honor. Imagine telling your neighbors you took the day off to honor the invention of the Double Cheese Whopper, or to commemorate the first invasion of the moon by humans in 1969. Each ethnic or religious group could organize its members to take specific days off to commemorate those they feel are important to their culture.
To avoid confusion, each employee would have to declare his or her holidays at the onset of employment, and could only change holidays once every three to five years. Of course, changing jobs would allow one to keep or change those personal days of honor as one chose.
Now here’s an idea that may introduce controversy about holidays, but what fun is life without controversy? Each person would be allowed to post artwork, posters, decorations, etc. in their own work spaces, as well as one such item in a shared area such as an employee lounge. Such items would have to be removed the first workday after the holiday.
There are details to be worked out, certainly, but the plan is a simple one that will allow each of us the same time off and the simultaneous ability to honor those we choose to honor.
So, what do you think? Let me know, Heroes.