Ahhh. Memorial Day weekend approaches. What will I do with my three-day-weekend? I should take a beach getaway! Or maybe go visit my mom! Or maybe-
Oh wait. I work Monday. Of course. Because it’s a holiday, and journalists don’t get those days off. How silly of me.
I don’t know what it’s like for production folks (like myself) but I’ve heard it said that in most TV markets, the holidays are actually a pretty joyous occasion for the on air staff. If there are even newscasts at all (which there might not be, say, on Christmas when the station could just run re-runs of Christmas specials or whatever) the seasoned anchors get the day off and the young, fresh-faced, up-and-coming reporters get to fight over the anchor desk for one day. One lucky choice reporter gets to anchor that day, meaning he or she snags some material for a resume tape and the anchor who’s been at the station for 30-some years gets to spend the day away from work enjoying quality time with his or her family.
Can you guess where I’m going with this?
That ain’t the way we do it, kid.
All of our shows must (for some crazy unknown reason) go on. Regular anchors anchor. Reporters report. Producers produce. Directors direct.
Now, don’t fret. Not everyone works each holiday. But everyone works holidays. Does that makes sense? There is a trade off. If we’re scheduled to work Memorial Day (like yours truly) then we get the July 4th holiday off (which is actually Monday, July 5th.) Seems like a nice nod, right? A consolation of sorts? But I think it really isn’t. And here’s why: we get paid time and a half on the holidays and our station is too bloody cheap to afford to pay everyone overtime each holiday. I truly believe that if the money was there, we’d all be here each and every holiday. I truly and honestly believe that.
Because our work is our life. And that is that.
But hey! Monday, July 5th is the day after I get back from my week in Illinois for Cornerstone! So that’s neat!