How to survive working on Martin Luther King Day
Whether you're the lowest employee on the totem pole manning your desk as part of a skeleton crew or are an 80-hour-a-week machine, working on a day when a lot of other people have a holiday is anything but fun. Martin Luther King Jr. Day presents a particular divide with it sometimes seeming like there is little rhyme or reason why some firms give their employees the day off and others don't.
Here are some strategies for coping if your heartless employer has you working:
1. Go into deep denial.
You can't feel left out of the last three-day weekend before Memorial Day if you pretend it doesn't exist. Hide out from Facebook, deliberately misunderstand well-wishers telling you to have a great long weekend and don't reference needing to get up for work when you cash out of the Sunday night poker game early.
Of course if you're reading this, the denial ship has already sailed, but keep it in mind for Presidents' Day.
2. Enjoy the empty city perks
Marvel at your speedy commute (you know, unless you need to drive on the east side of downtown when dueling parades are going on). Luxuriate in the lack of a line at Starbucks. Walk into your favorite usually-packed business lunch spot (check that it's open first) and get treated like a VIP (immediate seating, attentive service) just for showing up.
3. Look for the silver lining
If you're like me, parades just aren't your thing, so at least if anyone asks you if you watched or attended the MLK Day parades, you've got a gift-wrapped excuse. Then ask others who had the day off if they attended, and give them the hard stare if they didn't until they feel like a bad person for disrespecting the legacy of Dr. King.
4. Don't do any work
The best way to teach employers that mandating work on government holidays is a bad idea is to not do any work on those holidays. You're already here, so that's a great start, but don't stop at CultureMap and your usual blogs. Watch Very Mary-Kate from the beginning. Read all those long Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone and New York Times Magazine profiles you always want to get into but never had the time to digest.
Spend a solid one to two hours parsing the Golden Globes fashion pictures and analyzing the winners, starting with January Jones' dress.
If your boss asks why nothing got done, claim you are stuck until you get documents/approval/whatever from other people who must be out of the office.
5. Meditate on your misery
True clarity comes from a combination of suffering and deep meditation. Whether or not you can contort into lotus pose in your desk chair, set your office lights to motion-activated, still your mind, inhabit your pain and let it connect you spiritually to all the suffering in the world, achieving a transcendental oneness only working on Martin Luther King Jr. Day can provide.
And if that doesn't work there's always more Very Mary-Kate.