User Input

User Input: Holiday Chaos

"Corporate has targeted an 18.4% improvement in holiday cheer vs. last year's numbers. To that end, we've brought in professional models to stand around the office in silly hats and look cheerful."

“Corporate has targeted an 18.4% improvement in holiday cheer vs. last year’s numbers. To that end, we’ve brought in professional models to stand around the office in silly hats and look cheerful.”

You may have perceived a marked decline in the frequency of posts here on AtomicToasters. Unfortunately, that’s another classic case of real life getting in the way of the online reality we all so greatly prefer. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that, even though I’m still in the automotive business, the rules are completely different. For most dealerships, and specifically the sales side, business dies down in the winter months, and especially in the weeks around Christmas. On our side, business ramps up in this time, as dealerships stock up for spring. So that means, in addition to trying to accomplish everything I would like to get done for the holidays, I also have a whole lot more work in my day job. While I hunt for a new place to live.

I hear people talking about how they enjoy the holidays, because their workplace slows down a whole lot, and everyone gets the opportunity to relax a bit at their job. I don’t think I’ve ever really experienced that.

In your day job, do you find yourself more relaxed, or more chaotic when the holidays hit?

  • The museum I work in gets wicked busy during the holidays 'cause kids are out of school and parents have days off from work, and for some reason we insist on being open on days most of the staff would rather be hungover or working towards that goal. In my previous position this wasn't such a big deal, since all I did was build and repair exhibits in the shop. Now I'm part of the 'Public Space' department and more needed when we're open.

    I've been given coal in my stocking in the form of a denied vacation request for my annual trip South of the Border between Christmas and New Years; which was no problemo under my old department. Bummer.

  • Depends on the workload. the day before Thanksgiving my boss told us we could leave at 2pm. I ended up leaving about 4:30, I had some drawings I had to get out that day. Last year I had planned on taking off the whole time between Christmas and New Year, I ended up working about a day and a half, there were some first article parts that had to be inspected. Now things seem to be slowing down a bit. We pretty much shut down for the second half of December, but we do most of our manufacturing in Asia, those guys MIGHT take off on Christmas day.

    The boss did just take us all out to The Cheesecake Factory for the department holiday meal today. I'll be napping the rest of the afternoon.

  • Nuclearspork

    I used to have things settle down after thanksgiving, being that all the projects for the year were wrapping up and maintenance blackouts for the holidays. The last few years have been the opposite though due to people making commitments to have things done by the end of the year and not bothering to start working on them until December even if it should take at least 3 months to do it properly.

  • cruisintime

    I was hoping we could discuss the chaos theory in depth. A noted science journal ( Jurassic Park ) gave it credibility.

    • Number_Six

      Chaos: a state which the Lego constructionista both craves and abhors.

  • SSurfer321

    I'm in construction. Between hunting season, weather and the holidays it's a wonder anything gets done between Thanksgiving and New Years.

    However, there's always some idiot owner/architect that decides this would be the BEST time of the year to bid a project, so construction can start first of the year. So I'm inevitably stuck at work bidding the damn thing, only for the price to come in over budget because my suppliers/subcontractors are hunting, cold or away for the holidays. Then the owner decides to re-bid it after the new year in hopes of better pricing, which is what I suggested in the first place. And construction doesn't start until the spring thaw.


  • Number_Six

    Normally things start getting sleepy around here over Xmas and Dick Clark Eve. However, this holiday season at work is a Towering Inferno of rushed projects, overinflated expectations, budgetary overruns, quarreling, and threats of premature career stoppage – in other words, just like any family holiday. It'll make it all the sweeter when I point my two middle fingers in the air and step onto a creaky 767 to Asia for several weeks of being semi-conscious on rice wine and meats of questionable provenance.

  • Our work pace is so hectic, I hardly have time to check in here regardless of the time of year.

    – Posted from my work PC.

  • Things get crazy busy here in the word of commercial vehicle sales and finance:
    Upper management assumes its slow so they assign extra BS.
    Customers just met with their accountant who told them to go spend money on deppreciable assets before year end.
    Everything I've been putting off until later is on the verge of becoming past due.

  • Renchick

    My workload varies without regard to the calendar. Fortunately, right now, things are slow. I suspect this means everything will explode next week.

  • sawermassey

    My workplace doesn't really vary workload before the holidays, but from x-mas through the first week of January the two automakers we ship direct from are closed for retooling, It makes our trains short, which is really nice. Shorter trains means less frozen beard time out switching the yard.

  • OA5599

    At an old job, the customers vanished between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I assume everyone was in various stages of being on vacation, getting their customers drunk at holiday parties, and then going to their customers' holiday parties for another round.

    The last week of the year was an entirely different story. Customers with budget left over would go into "use it or lose it" mode. They generally didn't care what they bought, as long as the price matched the remaining budget. Otherwise their budget for the next year would be cut to eliminate the overage. I probably could have shipped empty crates without getting complaints.

  • nanoop

    My business is completely unseasonal, no need to push things to the edge.
    My top level management is bonused by "number of projects finished this year", even though we have development cycles of rather two years than four months. Our former manager had us working more or less directly for his bonus at the end of the year.
    Our current one is already rich and not as depending on the bonus payment in order to finance his Bentley (he doesn't have one, I'm only cynical): this leads to more sane prioritizing, and more relaxed atmosphere between turkey days and next year.
    Mildly connected: I still wonder how stocks of a company can swing that abruptly within seconds, whereas the products take years to develop, and will be sold profitable for at least half a decade.

  • Dean Bigglesworth

    Been slow-ish so far, but god forbid we get this year's first major snowfall during the holidays… Then it's all hands on deck, work as much overtime as you can, I haven't slept for three days gimme buckets of coffee mode.