It’s the most wonderful time of the year. That magical window between Right Now and I Can’t Believe I Have To Go Back To Work. Before both of my faithful readers get too concerned that I’m about to complain about the “Holiday Season” I want to reassure you that I sincerely like this time of year.
After all, IS there anything better than driving 7 hours through high speed traffic with young children in the backseat so that your entire extended family can make jokes about how you never call them until you finally collapse from exhaustion on the pullout sleeper sofa minted in 1957? Ahh, the magic of the Season!
The absolute best part of this time of year has got to be the Holiday Cheer Email. The HCE has many faces, but they all share the goal of making it appear as if you really care about the Spirit of the Season, but simply don’t have the time to spend more than 15 seconds to send a premade and completely cheesy email. Whether it is full of dancing elves, farting reindeer, or manoras that twinkle merrily, all these emails send basically the same message: “You and the 1524 other people I’ve sent this to are all very special to us.” As bad as the HCE is, I must confess that I would rather watch a million dancing elves light farting reindeer on fire with merrily twinkling manoras than receive one more Countdown.
The Countdown, for those that don’t work in education is the Time Left Til Break. I am reasonably certain that it is possible to tell how long a teacher has been employed by noting their diligence in reporting the Countdown. A teacher that announces “Only 1 week to go” is relatively new and idealistic whereas an announcement of “We still have 5 calendar days, 15 hours, 23 minutes, and 2 seconds until I get the hell outta here” is probably a veteran teacher of 20 or more years. Of course the Countdown is annoying to me not because I don’t look forward to a holiday as much as the next guy, but because it is so misleading. Sure, you get a few days off, but then you have to come back! The smaller and (now) taken for granted Friday Countdown is equally depressing and for the same reason. When you start the Countdown, you automatically start thinking about how long the break is and what you’ll have to do when you come back.
Personally I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that the Countdown was invented by some manager as a sadistic exercise in psychology to keep their workers focused on coming back to work on time!
I would continue to rant on for a quite a bit longer, but ‘Tis The Season where our Fearless Leaders wear stupid aprons and feed us lunch and I’m hoping to capture a compromising photo for leverage during my yearly evaluation.