I know you are all excited to hear about my first convention experience. The short story is that is was fantastic and I can’t wait to attend another. There’s a lot I have to say, but the nerdier topics will be saved for Sunday. Today, as we all go back to work after the holiday weekend, I want to touch on something that occurred to me as I checked into my hotel Friday.
The Forth of July was one of my favorite holidays as a kid. I loved getting the family together, catching candy at parades and cooking in the backyard. Walking through halls of cosplayers to my room, I realized there were a lot of people working on the holiday for the convention. There was the staff of Anime Midwest, who may or may not have been getting paid for their service (I saw plenty of emails asking for volunteers). In addition, there was the staff of the hotel, the cooks, maids and janitors.
I suppose this isn’t any different then any other holiday. The existence of a light turned on usually indicates there is at least one person in a power plant somewhere. That means even the big holidays, like Christmas and Easter, someone somewhere is working instead of spending quality time with their family.
My heart goes out to all those workers. Maybe the Forth of July isn’t too big of a deal, but there are big ones which I’m sure few would prefer to work. I wonder how right it is we make these people work and if there is even a way to allow all people the chance to be with their families for at least some time over a holiday.
At my old job, my supervisor told me about time he spent in Israel. According to him, they are so serious about avoiding work on the Sabbath that they literally won’t go so far as to life a finger to turn on a light switch. Hotels are rigged for conveniences like lights and elevators to operate automatically. Since no one will push a button for the elevator, they run up and down, stopping at every floor along the way.
Of course, just like over here, the existence of electricity means someone is in a power plant somewhere. That area of the world isn’t the most peaceful either, meaning someone has to be watching the border. Allegedly (as in, according to my old supervisor), they have ‘gentiles,’ foreigners or people who are more liberal in their religious beliefs to work basic necessitates on the Sabbath. I guess that’s a little like what we do here. If having a specific holiday off or all of them off is important to you, can choose a job that offers that freedom. You might argue that some people fall into jobs that require working over holidays unintentionally, but if you are that serious, you still can choose refuse the job.
I have a friend who is intense about her religious beliefs. While looking for work during college, she turned down jobs who couldn’t guarantee her she’d never have to work on the Sabbath. Her attitude surprised me as I imagine someone else in her same situation who didn’t have their parents to lean on would have to take the job, regardless of the hours required. “Shame on them!” was her response, which took me aback. Really? Choosing to put food on the table for your family instead of sitting at home while they starve is the shameful action?
While I’m not sure how my friend feels about people who work over the Sabbath, but she never gave any indication she thinks less of people work work then. Sure, she said ‘shame on them,’ but she’s never treated me or anyone else differently for working over her Sabbath.
That’s quite different from the way servers are treated, as detailed on a blog called Sundays are the Worst. The blog has been taken down with a note saying it will relaunch in 2015, but I’ll give you the short synopsis. After receiving complaints about their congregations from servers at various restaurants, two religious leaders made the blog and opened it to servers. They asked them to tell their stories about what they experienced at work on Sundays.
Perhaps they are reevaluating the blog, since it was pretty horrible. Servers were regularly looked down upon by church goers on Sundays. These people, who, instead of going home to make a meal for themselves are choosing to sit in a restaurant, looked down upon those serving them for daring to work on the Sabbath. Regular stories told about groups of 10 or more people taking up most of a servers area for hours only to leave a religious brochure as tip.
Working server jobs, or any job that requires work over holidays or weekends, isn’t really ideal, but that doesn’t make those workers deserving of any less respect. Throughout history, the people who work jobs no one else wants have been looked down upon. I remember stories of those who worked with dead, preparing them for funerals and such, who lived on the outskirts of society. I wonder how that came to be. Is it a disrespect based on fear of the unknown?
Either way, I think respect is the way to go. The highest level of respect would be to do whatever is possible to avoid making others work on major holidays or any other day you don’t think people should work (outside of emergencies, my friend and her family never did anything that required people to work on the Sabbath. They wouldn’t go so far as to fill their tank with gas outside of emergencies). If that’s not possible or practical, please be kind and respectful of those hard workers. Like it or not, the world doesn’t stop for everyone on holidays. If you do something that makes someone work over a weekend or holiday, be sure to express your thanks and respect. Those hard workers deserve at least that much.
Do you know people who look down on those who work on holidays or the Sabbath? Why do you think cultures throughout history have looked down upon those who work in the jobs no one else wants? So you think it’s right people are required to work on holidays at all? What about on weekends or the Sabbath?