Yep, been there, done that. Sometimes the work must go on, such as when I was in the Army, or later working in the National Military Command Center, where there are no days off. The Pentagon (hopefully) never sleeps, though we did doze occasionally.
But there was one time just a few years ago when I had to work both Christmas Eve day and then the days after Christmas for a project, one that seemed vital at the time, and looking back, was not so. I checked into the Santa Clara CA Marriott that day, I had stayed there at least 100 days that year, maybe more. Associates knew me, but were surprised that I was going to be there.
After the news that the lounge was closed was given, there were apologies and even an offer of room service on the house. I refused. Then an offer of a large two bedroom suite, which I accepted. The hotel was vacant, and I was the only person on my floor, maybe on my wing of the hotel. Senior staff were off with their families, so it was just me and the third team, the one that had to work holiday shifts.
I went into work, and tried to concentrate, but kept feeling the pull of home. I did get home for Christmas day and had to leave again the day after, all of which means Christmas was hurried and not that enjoyable. Back at the hotel I had that feeling in the Eagles trademark song, "you can check in any time you want, but you can never leave."
A hotel at a holiday, especially a business-oriented one, is a very lonely place. Yes, the staff tried, but there is only so much you can do.
So my question is: Have any of you spent a working time over the holidays in a hotel, alone? If so, how was it? Would you recommend it?
Long, long ago as a youngbuck junior manager, some chowderhead executive scheduled a year end review on the backend of a Christmas week. Being a hardcharger (which as we all know has it's pros and cons - can steal your life if not careful, can provide some tremendous opportunities if fortunate), I celebrated Christmas at home on the east coast and flew out Christmas day (a marvelous day to fly btw - or at least my experience was, everyone was friendly, holiday spirits were flowing and crowds were virtually non-existent) and stayed where else, at a Marriott, where similarly, everyone was friendly and in a generous mood (would it be the same in today's service environment, I do not know). I settled into the room and crunched out the final portion of my presentation; so, overall, not a bad experience at all, but of course, I believe the difference was that I was able to spend the morning with family first. Ironically the last time I was actually scheduled to work (like many of us, there have been many Christmases of past where I did some work) was with Marriott, serving Christmas meals to the needy, so even that wasn't a bad experience.
While I've worked many holidays to include Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Years Eve and New Years Day all in the same year numerous times, it was always at home so I got to spend some part of the day with family/friends before or after work.
I'd sure be interested in reading the accounts of other Insiders who may have stayed in a hotel over the holidays, alone.
Yes as an expatriate overseas for 25+ years, there were a number of times that I had to work on Christmas Day in Fairly remote locations while my family was back in the USA. It was not a lot of fun but that was a requirement working for a company like Exxon. My family and I understood that this was just part of the requirement for working as an expatriate overseas and adapted to this because there was just no other choice. And yes, it was lonely being in a place like Equatorial Guinea Africa while your family was enjoying their time back in the USA.n
The barracks hardly qualifies as a hotel, but I have spent a couple of Christmases abroad in them as a young adult. Fortunately I never had duty on Christmas, nor was I called in to troubleshoot a production problem or had to work against the clock over Christmas to meet a deployment deadline, emergency or otherwise (It was the 1980's after all). Nonetheless, it was a unique situation for me. In that time, there were no cell phones (and indeed no access to land lines with which to call back to the states, only sat phones, again extremely difficult to gain access) and of course no internet (email, Skype, etc.). Snail mail took about three weeks. Home was a world away. It might've been lonely, except that we were many, and we came together to form a sort of family of our own, if just for the day. Since it wasn't a deployment but an actual permanent duty station abroad, some of the Marines who were there on accompanied tours would have everyone over to their house out in "the ville" for real Christmas dinner. Those were good and memorable times. We would play games, tell stories, watch movies (never new releases), and of course eat. As a matter of fact, some of my most treasured recipes that I've kept with me now for over half a lifetime (and which I still prepare) came from those Christmases in Okinawa. Sarah's (Sgt. Ogilvie-McDonnell's wife) Broccoli Casserole, Kris' (Cpl. Finch's wife) homemade Cheesecake with Rasberry Sauce, along with Jerry's (Lt. Clark's wife), Chocolate Cake and Cinnamon Rolls... These recipes still grace my recipe box as well as my table from time to time. These friendships are long gone now, but their importance remains ever and fondly imprinted in my memory, with sincere gratitude.
That is a great memory Pluto. We had a small celebration one Christmas during my Army career, and yes the camaraderie of the other folks in similar situations made for a feeling of home (this was the late 60s however and I am not sure we even had any kind of communication).
But now, many years later, I can still see the joy even far away and at work
Great story pluto77, thank you for sharing it.
I was able to spend all my military holidays with family as the Army Airfield would close so nobody worked. After reading your story I wonder what memories I missed by not having to spend it with my military family.