I get it. Working on a holiday especially during Christmas and New Year can be difficult (emotionally and ugh, traffic-ly!). When I first started in a call center, I never really thought about how I’d spend my first ever Christmas away from home. Days went by so fast that before I knew it, it’s the most joyous season of the year!
It was just my 8th month of working, and although I’ve met some friends from the workplace, most of them have families and relatives to stay with. I already moved to a new boarding house by that time, and I was living alone. I also didn’t personally know my board mates so I didn’t bother staying with them.
Celebrating Christmas & New Year
I just remember spending my Christmas with some of my teammates who I was never really super close with. We just drank the night away at the roof deck of my teammate’s apartment, then headed to Cabanas for karaoke session. Those who I was really friends with were either with their families or went home to their hometown to celebrate. Nonetheless, it was a fun night. Not life-changing but still fun, which was better than sleeping the Christmas away.
I also remember taking calls while the clock struck midnight to signal a new year. The lights on the floor were turned off for some reasons, and I looked at the sparkling fireworks from the window while my customer was greeting me a Happy New Year. Since he’s in the US, his New Year was naturally at a later time than mine.
I heard people shouting Happy New Year on the floor, not realizing that we, the agents, still had customers on the line. Haha! And that was New Year for me. Work. Home. Sleep. Rinse and repeat. The next day was just another day. It wasn’t a particularly emotional time but if I had a choice, I would have spent it with my family back home. It’s always better that way.
But no, I had to work. That time, I was single and not even supporting anyone financially so you’d think I could just afford to be absent or file a leave. I didn’t think of filing a leave either because I was just new, and I wasn’t sure if I’d be allowed. Holidays were always, always critical workdays even though there were far less calls on holidays than regular days.
If you’re working this holiday season, and you feel homesick or sad that you can’t celebrate with your family and friends, just remember that it’s not going to make you less of a family member or friend. It just means that you’re committed to the job you chose. Whatever the case is, give yourself a pat on the back because you’re one of the modern-day heroes. You’re working on a holiday so that you can be there for your customers and colleagues when they need you most. 😉
To help you go through the holiday season without your family, you can plan ahead. If your family is just in Cebu, you can tell them to celebrate early in the day so that you get to be with them too. If your family is far away – don’t forget to video call! That’s what tech is for!
Gather your workmates or teammates, and celebrate in your office. This is a common practice. If you can’t celebrate the holiday season at home, at least you can celebrate it with your friends in the office. You can have a potluck dinner!
You can also spend some time with your relatives or friends (if you have any in town) days or even hours before Christmas or New Year. For sure they will be happy to adopt you for the day. Just plan your schedule ahead because holiday traffic is a real headache.
Or you can go solo! It’d be a little lonely, but if you enjoy the company of yourself during the merry holiday season, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. It’s definitely your choice to make. Prepare your own food, gifts, go to your favorite places – do whatever you like.
Happy New Year!
Even when I was already working as a trainer, there would still be times when I had to work on Christmas Day or New Year. It wasn’t exactly something I liked, but I had to be flexible for work. After all, I did say I’m “willing to work on holidays” during my application. So, the sooner you accept that working on a holiday is part of your job, the sooner you’ll get used to it, but not in a bad way.
There are always other ways to celebrate, and what’s important is you know in your heart the true meaning of the holiday season. Happy holidays to you and your family! Remember, you’re blessed to be employed! Stay happy! ♥