We’ve all been there–hard at work while everyone else, it seems, has the day off. Or the week off. For journalists, being on the job instead of with family at holiday time goes with the territory. And it doesn’t have to be all bad.
Making the best of things takes preparation, says Matthew Nordin of WMBF in Myrtle Beach, S.C. His holiday survival guide includes advice to plan plenty of stories in advance. That may sound obvious, but it’s always amused me the way holidays seem to sneak up on newsrooms. Good grief! It’s Christmas tomorrow. Does anyone have any story ideas?
Another simple suggestion from Nordin: Bring food.
Early in my career, when I had to report on Christmas Day, I made the mistake of thinking I could just roll-up to McDonald’s or Wendy’s like any old day of the year. Nope. Have a good meal prepared for yourself that’s microwavable. Make sure it’s better than your average lunch/dinner at work. Treat yourself since it’s a holiday. It’ll make you feel better.
Some newsrooms I’ve worked in went to the trouble of providing a holiday meal, but invariably I’d be in the field when the food arrived. A granola bar from the snack machine just doesn’t cut it on a holiday, so Nordin’s advice is right on point.
Just because you’re working doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate, of course. Christmas in January? Been there, done that. And as Nordin points out, it’s really not all that terrible to be at work on a holiday. The managers are gone,” he says. “The people who are in the newsroom are usually in a good mood. And you’ve got a comp day coming!”
So plan ahead and do your best to enjoy it if you have to work over the holidays. I could point out that if you’re working the holidays at least you have a job, but I won’t. Oh wait. I just did.