Overhauling elizabethmaxim.com and doing groundwork for various upcoming projects these past weeks has given me a unique perspective of how enslaved we’ve become to the socio-cultural dictates of how we spend time and energy during the holidays.
There’s a thought-provoking lecture on time and its influence on man in Bishop Pair, 2nd in the Metatron’s Army series.
Knowing this was how I was going to spend a portion of my holiday break, I scheduled time with the team that supports me months ago.
My job was to provide them with a concise vision from which to work. This meant we were able to maximize time spent.
I’m very proud of what we accomplished as a team and individuals and I am excited about upcoming projects.
And I’m a lot less stressed since all the legwork has been completed.
The experience – scheduling various team members’ time – brought to light just how integrated socially driven behavior has become in people’s lives.
Cultural norms and expectations drive behavior.
It was interesting to note just how dramatically Western holiday behavior (at least in the US) has changed over the past several decades.
When I was growing up nothing was open on Sundays or holidays. That was family time. You had to make sure you had gas in your car and food in your house before Saturday evening/Sunday morning.
Though holiday activities have been dictated by cultural norms for years, the timing of those activities has and continues to change.
I did a Black Friday thing once to get a deal on a 5-disc CD changer. Never again.
The interesting part is that while the changes have drawn criticism, nowhere have I seen it pointed out that people are choosing to be herded in these directions.
They choose to leave a family event to go shopping. They choose to stand in ridiculously long lines starting before dawn. They choose to start Christmas shopping before Halloween.
It’s easy to see how we got to this point because as a society we are used to having our holiday time planned out for us.
- When we’re kids our schedules are dictated by our culture.
Ho ho ho
- When we’re in high school (in the US) our holiday schedules (students’ and teachers’) are dictated by the state governments
Everyone has the same time off which impacts businesses as parents and kids seek to manage time and activities, including babysitting/daycare.
- When we’re in college it’s about getting ready for finals and graduations
Sorry mom, I can’t make it for Thanksgiving. I’ve got finals to study for.
- When we’re working it depends on the industry and any localized norms associated with the industry.
Medical personnel as well as police, firefighters, and others need to schedule coverage, potentially putting their holiday schedules out of sync with their communities.
- When we live in communities where an industry is king, our holiday time is definitely impacted.
GM shuts down twice a year – in summer and winter. While it’s logical GM employees and their families have to follow this schedule, the communities and businesses around the plants are likewise impacted.
I was scheduled to do a software upgrade at the Flint GM plant during such a holiday break as majority of the production systems were going to be offline.
It’s typical for those working in IT to be at their busiest when the auto companies are on holiday because of the opportunity to do infrastructure upgrades and maintenance.
This holiday influenced scheduling resulted in one of the more memorable experiences of my early IT career I was about fifteen minutes into the software upgrade when the entire plant went suddenly completely dark.
Within a short time the emergency lights came on bathing the almost deserted plant in an eerie red glow that had us feeling as if we were in an apocalyptic horror movie.
When the power didn’t come back on one of the GM IT folks went to find out what was going on.
Brave soul wandered deeper into an almost pitch-black plant.
Turns out that the Flint power company had the same bright idea – take advantage of GM downtime to upgrade their infrastructure which necessitated shutting off the grid that the plant was on.
They didn’t inform GM or their vendors so we were all caught off guard.
The software upgrade was a bust and we ended up having to test the backup strategy as we restored the system to its pre-install chaos state.
It was successful.
They eventually got their upgrade but long after the break was over.
Hard to work when there is no power and difficult to schedule production server downtime.
In running my own business I appreciate the value of other people’s time and am very careful when asking others to work over holiday break – even as I know from experience sometimes that is the best time to get things done.
It’s interesting to see that some people really enjoy spending this time working as it gets them out of other obligations they weren’t too thrilled about.
As I enter the new year I can say I’m thrilled with how things turned out.
It takes a lot of work but even more planning to accomplish what my team and I did and I’m very proud of the work and their contributions.
It is not easy working around the socio-cultural dictated norms of holidays.
Being out of sync with local activities takes a lot of energy and no small amount of planning – like ensuring you have enough gas in the car and food in the house.
The Go Forward. I invite readers to see what’s new.
Pretty much everything in terms of look and feel.
I’ve provided information on upcoming projects and organized older projects alongside more current works.
All projects are tied to the theme Paranormal Journeys.
Cauldron of the Gods, first in the Dragon Core series is set for release at the end of February, 2020.
And last but not least – Happy New Year!