The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Community News Network

December 23, 2013

Work Advice: A Dickens of a work schedule

Karla L. Miller writes an advice column on navigating the modern workplace. Each week she will answer one or two questions from readers.

- - -

Q: I started working for an online luxury retailer this year in a salaried office position. There wasn't much talk about working hours when I started, but I've had a fairly typical commuter schedule. For the holiday season, however, we were told we're to take no vacation time through early January and will have to work some Saturdays. So in addition to working 60 hours some weeks and getting paid for 40, I have to work throughout Christmas. We can request one weekday off, so I might get Christmas Day or New Year's Day off, but not both. What's more, my extra hours will be devoted to packing and shipping inventory, which I didn't sign up for.

We're not being offered comp time or bonuses. We're given vague promises that "it's a young company" and that there's room for growth. Last year, everyone's "bonus" was a donation made in their name to a charity run by the company owner.

I don't feel right about not even being able to attend Christmas Eve Mass. I can't afford to quit; I'm sending out resumes like crazy. Is there some way out of this so I can see my family for Christmas?

A: I wish I had tidings of comfort and joy. But I don't see an out unless your boss has a life-changing encounter with some Christmas spirits (ghosts, liquor, whatever works).

Believe it or not, private employers are not legally required to grant paid holidays. That's why it's a good idea to get holidays, along with hours, pay and other benefits, nailed down before you accept a job. As discussed in an earlier column, salaried workers have to get the job done, however long it takes. And although you might take for granted that your desk duties will stay the same year-round, some companies have an "and other tasks as needed" expectation — especially young retailers trying to make enough holiday green to stay out of the red.

Text Only
Community News Network
  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • When your doctor commits suicide, things get complicated

    When they call for appointments, patients are told they can't see their doctor. Ever. The standard line: "We are sorry, but your doctor died suddenly."

    July 15, 2014

  • NWS-HB0713-HowardMartin-004.jpg Airman laid to rest back home in Indiana six decades after death

    The mystery of what happened to a military transport plane that disappeared in the fall of 1952 into an Alaskan glacier was solved two years ago when a helicopter crew spotted the wreckage. But it took another two years to retrieve the remains of Airman Howard Miller and 16 other servicemen passengers. Saturday, Miller was laid to rest in his hometown of Elwood, Ind., with full military honors. Hundreds turned out for the funeral and burial services.

    July 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • This is what happened when I drove my Mercedes to pick up food stamps

     I climbed the ladder quickly, free to work any hours in any location for any pay. I moved from market to market, always achieving a better title, a better salary. Succeeding.

    July 8, 2014

  • Nation's first soda tax could come to Berkeley

    The Berkeley City Council unanimously decided last week to put the 1-cent-per-ounce tax on the ballot this November. Approving the tax would mean a major defeat for the soda industry, which has spent millions to crush the effort nationwide.

    July 7, 2014

  • President Barack Obama mug Best president? Worst president? Don't read too much into those polls

    The questions about who are the best and worst post-WWII presidents are useless. What they mainly show is that Republicans are far more unified around a single story than are Democrats.

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • What states can do on their own about immigration

    It's official: Congress won't take up immigration reform this year. This week, President Barack Obama said he'll use executive actions to change policies unilaterally.

    July 1, 2014

  • The Internet has changed how we curse

    Relatively recent technologies — cable television, satellite radio, and social media — provide us with a not-too-unrealistic picture of how often people swear in public and what they say when they do.

    June 24, 2014

  • May 2014 was the hottest may in recorded history

    According to new data released this week, May 2014 is officially the warmest May in recorded history.
    Both NASA and the Japan Meteorological Agency have tentatively ranked May at the top of historical measurements, though NASA's numbers are preliminary because crucial information is still missing from China.

    June 18, 2014

  • facebook.png Facebook making big changes to its advertisements

    Facebook is making significant changes to the advertisements on its network, and said Thursday that it will give users more control over which ads they see on its network.

    June 12, 2014 1 Photo

Front page
Clinton Herald Photos


Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.

Poll

What are your plans for the weekend?

Enjoying the outdoors
Staying in out of the heat
Traveling
Other
     View Results
AP Video
Olympics 2014
Featured Comment
Featured Ads
Blue Zones Project
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.