Bad Habits of a Gen-Yer: Loving Holidays

by Emily Jasper on February 4, 2009

This might not actually sound like that big of a deal. Lots of people like holidays. Lots of people hate them, too.

The funny thing about loving holidays is that it could be considered immature to get excited about Valentine’s candy or dressing up for Halloween. In addition to a turning your office into an elementary school classroom with decorations, holidays can add discomfort to your day-to-day work relationships.

Holidays open the door to your personal life.

For example, Thanksgiving and Christmas are known for being stressful due to family conflict. Even if you don’t bring in a giant bow for your door, you will probably bring in those worry lines anticipating Aunt Sally’s slurring at the dinner table. You might be short with your coworkers, distracted before and after the holiday, and pretty much miserable with your life for a few days.

That’s a worse-case scenario. But we all know how awkward it can be if someone suddenly blows up in a meeting or unloads on you in the hall.

In my experience, issues around holidays are truly about bringing your personal life to work.

Yet many of the Gen-Y books and blogs bring up the point that Gen-Yers blur the lines; there isn’t much separation between work and personal. Most of my close friends are work friends. I’ve moved a number of times, so I haven’t had the luxury of personal relationships that have nothing to do with my work. It’s actually another job for me to build friendships outside of my office. Basically, work is my life until something else comes along.

I bring this up because my birthday is in a few days. I love my birthday. Holidays are constant, and for someone who moved a bunch as a kid, my birthday was always the day when I knew I would have a bunch of friends celebrating with me.

Birthdays might be their own special category, but can be extra troublesome for Gen-Yers. Many of us are trying to make our way in the office, gathering experience at lightning speed and trying to prove ourselves. And then a birthday rolls around, and we remind everyone exactly how young we are. There’s also the threat of those photos posted on Facebook that you’ll have to untag, the stories if someone from the office saw you fall outside the bar, or even the odd looks you might get for bringing balloons to work.

So on Friday, I will be letting everyone know that I am turning 25. And there will be balloons, because that’s who I am.

And life is personal. Be it at work, in the classroom, in sports, at home, or anywhere. I’m not saying you need to share every personal detail, there should be some separation. But don’t force it and don’t be scared if one bleeds into the other. Hence work-life balance.

If you are into holidays like me, make sure that you do all you can to earn those celebrations. And with a down economy, no one can blame you for finding the light in the darkness…even if it’s a birthday candle.

The views expressed in my blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.

Graphic from Clipart