The downsides of holiday work are pretty obvious. Missing out on celebrations with family and friends, inability to travel to distant loved ones, and that feeling that everyone else in your life is enjoying a day off while you are heading to work are just a few of the complaints about holiday work.
Despite the initial annoyance of working a holiday, there are often some positive aspects of holiday work. In my business, patients are extremely appreciative of the medical and nursing staff that are stuck working. No patient really wants to be in the hospital on a holiday either, so a smiling face and positive attitude from staff can make a huge difference.
Often, the staff that is working a holiday will throw a little party on the unit. If you can't celebrate with family, you can celebrate with your colleagues. I have friends who use holiday work to their advantage, avoiding cooking, cleanup, or uncomfortable time with family members they don't like.
Most places in the medical world offer some incentive for working holidays, like extra pay or a compensatory day off on a later date. People who work holidays often create new traditions with their families like opening gifts on Christmas Eve or eating Thanksgiving dinner the weekend after the holiday.
Working holidays is certainly not anyones favorite part of working in the medical profession. However over the years it has brought us awareness that not everyone is celebrating on holidays – some are sick, suffering, or just stuck at work. We should also have a deep appreciation for those who do work holidays and do so with a smile on their face.