Public Holidays, Statutory Holidays, and Days Off

It’s Memorial Day in the United States today, so a lot of people are out enjoying their long weekends. Last Monday, it was Victoria Day here in Canada and many Canadians were similarly enjoying their long weekends. That is, many Canadians who hold conventional jobs at conventional workplaces were enjoying their much-deserved days off, because their companies may not have been open for business on that day.

However, when it comes to working from home as a freelance writer, Internet business owner, or other similar professions, the concept of a statutory or public holiday isn’t quite so simple. A holiday isn’t necessarily a holiday.

With No Set Schedule Comes…

When you look at most so-called “regular” jobs, employees are a relatively standard schedule. They can expect to start work every Monday at 9:00am and they can expect to leave the work world behind every Friday at 5:00pm. There’s a little bit of flex in there and you’ll encounter occasional overtime, but the work schedule will remain largely unchanged. Such is not the case with freelancing and working from home.

There is a definite misconception of freedom, because many assume that a freelancers can work “when they want to work.” That’s partly true, but it also means that we can always potentially be “on the clock.” With no set schedule comes the persistent desire to get something done. There can be a ceaseless sense of obligation. If you’re not doing anything else, why not put in a couple extra hours in front of that computer and make a little more money?

The International Nature of the Internet

The concept of an open working schedule is further enhanced by the international nature of the world. You also have to remember that the Internet is open for business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. This will obviously vary from business to business, but you could very well have clients from all across the globe. It may be Memorial Day in your neck of the woods, but it’s just another Monday in Amsterdam. Whether it be Labour Day, Canada Day, or even Christmas, there really is no such thing as a universal holiday.

While clients and business associates will usually understand if you’re not around during an official holiday, they may not know that it’s a holiday in your area, just as you may not know if it’s a holiday in their area. If your work world is online, you also have to realize that your work world truly is global.

Just Another Day in the Office?

With a career in freelancing comes a certain degree of freedom. It’s not just about the freedom to make my own decisions on how I want to run my business, but also the freedoms to determine my own paycheque and to determine my own working schedule.

Just as I did with Victoria Day last week, I intend on working today on Memorial Day as well. I’ll probably take on a slightly lighter load than my usual Mondays, but that was my decision to make. It’s not quite “just another day in the office,” but it’s pretty close. How about you? Are you working on Memorial Day?

Reminder: The free iTrip nano contest ends tomorrow. Are you in?