Thanksgiving Day and the Workplace

It’s Thanksgiving eve in the United States. A day filled with haste, anxiety, and last-minute shopping. Bags are being packed, homes are being cleaned and prepped, and even a little early holiday shopping game-planning is happening. It’s a time to be thankful and grateful for all we have and a time to reflect on the year and acknowledge those who have provided the love, care, and attention to make our lives better. And many will be working on Thanksgiving to make our lives a little more comfortable.

In 2013, I wrote about businesses being open on Thanksgiving for the SHRM blog. At that time, there was an uproar in HR circles about this travesty. There was a battle cry to make Thanksgiving a time for family and reflection and PTO. Many worked up a lather at the retail industry for being open on Thanksgiving Day. Now, we are more worried about AI and automation and still trying to be disruptive in the HR space.

I want to thank all of those working on Thanksgiving Day. All those in the retail and hospitality industry. Those working the movie theaters, gas stations, and convenient stores. Those airlines and transportation workers getting us to our destinations. The stadium workers and athletes in the NFL and NCAA working overtime to put on some fantastic entertainment while the turkey and wine settles. To those in the media who will continue the 24-hour news cycle to keep Uncle Bobby all fired up while shoveling second and third helpings into his mouth.

Many companies will give their employees the time away. REI has made a whole campaign out of being closed on “Black Friday” and giving their employees a paid day off. They are encouraging us to #OptOutside and doing something besides shopping. I’m curious if they will be shutting down their online shopping operations on Friday, too, but I digress.

On this Thanksgiving season, be thankful for what you have and what you have access to. Each person chooses to celebrate and honor this day in their own way. I’m thankful for the Starbucks workers and the gas stations for being open so I can fuel up and get to my destination to spend time with family and friends.

I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving. May it be filled with joy and happiness regardless of how you choose to spend your day.

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