Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Top Six Reasons It's Not Bad to Work The Week Between Christmas and New Years

8:30am: Empty City Streets

I mean, I obviously wish that I wasn't working today. That I was home laying on the couch in sweat pants like I have been the past three days. But alas, here I am in my office. In the four years that I have been working I have always been in the office for the days between Christmas and New Years. I have to miss a lot of work in September and October for all of the Jewish holidays, and the people I work with really pick up the slack for me. So, since I don't celebrate Christmas, I always feel like it is only fair for me to be in the office this week, when most of my colleagues are on vacation.

But working this week isn't all bad. So here, for your reading satisfaction, are the top six reasons why I like working the week between Christmas and New Years:

6. Empty parking lots - To get to work, I drive my car to the train station and park it in a lot near the platform. Normally to get the first spot closest to the platform, one would have to get to the lot at six in the morning. I usually get there closer to eight, leaving me with a bit of a walk. But this morning, with most of the White Plains commuters still asleep, I got the first spot in the lot.

5. Empty trains - Unlike the Subway, which was my commuting method for the seven-plus years I lived in Manhattan, commuting via Metro North from Westchester is actually a pretty delightful experience. People are much calmer, and with enough seats for everyone, you are far less likely to spend your morning commute with someone's elbow jabbing into your side, or with your face smushed up against a fellow commuter's back. But there are still seats on Metro North that are more preferred than others, and they are really hard to get. Leaving from White Plains, which is a commuting hub in lower Westchester, I rarely ever get one of them. But this morning, with a mostly empty train, I had my pick of the best seats in the car.

4. Quiet office - There are approximately seven people working on my floor this week. It's super quiet. Quiet is good.

3. Quiet clients - Most of my clients are away this week, as are most of the bankers and trust companies that I deal with on a day-to-day basis. While this month has been my busiest December since I started my career as a Trusts & Estates lawyer (thanks, Congress and Mr. President for your complete inability to come to any kind of rational compromise about tax rates, leaving my clients uncertain. Uncertainty breeds fear. This is not news), this week is shaping up to be pretty quiet with most of my clients either on vacation or hunkered down with their families, so it leaves me ample time to accomplish the tasks I haven't been able to get to since December began.

2. The New York City streets are empty (at least today) - While by weeks end the streets will be crowded once again in anticipation of New Year's Eve, for today at least, the streets are blessedly empty. I know that by the time I make my way to the train tonight the crowds will be back in full force, taking advantage of the post-Christmas sales along Fifth Avenue, this morning when I was walking to work, most of the tourists seemed to still be sleeping off yesterday's festivities, making the walk a pleasure rather than the usual game of Survivor.

1. No line for coffee - Getting coffee in Manhattan on a weekday morning can really be a survival of the fittest situation. You have to be alert, guard your place in line with your life, and know exactly what you want before your turn at the register comes, lest you be subject to ridicule by your fellow caffeine junkies. But this morning, I walked into Dunkin' Donuts and went straight to the counter. No line, no wait, and no Banker-types making exasperated sighing noises just because they have to wait in line for more than fifteen seconds.

Anyone else working today, or am I the only one? What's good about your workdays this week?


  1. In Canada the world mostly shuts down - except for shopping since this is the day retailers make their last ditch effort to clear holiday stock from the shelves.

  2. I'm off today, but back at work tomorrow, and I am actually looking forward to it. I am a volunteer coordinator, and I have no volunteers tomorrow and Friday. I love them, but they also suck the time out of my day, so I can quietly get some stuff done. I am so excited :)

  3. I used to work those days too! For all Tge reasons you said. I love bonding with the few random people around. I didn't know you did t&e law. How cool. They say it's family friendly....

    1. T&E law is pretty interesting, and it is a good practice for working moms, just not in the way that I do it now (big firm). But there are ways to do it with far more flexibility that I am looking into for when I need it.

  4. I temped my way through college, which always included the week between Christmas and New Year's. I didn't mind at all because it was so quiet.