After Hours

Share your holiday work horror story and win a prize

Do your holiday seasons usually consist of gathering around the tree or being chained to your desk? Share your nightmare holiday work story and possibly win a shirt!

Ah, the holidays. A joyful time of revelry with family and friends, gift giving, eggnog, and—for some—long hours at work. Whether the result of looming deadlines or unconcerned management, our chosen work as developers periodically requires us to stick around at work while (seemingly) the entire rest of the world plays.

I don’t have many of these working-holiday stories to share, as I’m fortunate enough to have worked mostly for organizations and individuals that highly value their employees’ private time when it comes to holidays. That’s unless you count the security company I worked for early on in college that routinely required one 12-hour shift from employees on Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year's Day. Regardless, I do feel for those who have to work while others enjoy the holiday season. I’m of the opinion that no one should work on holidays that are as big as Thanksgiving or Christmas, or their cultural equivalents. Yes, I do know how impractical that would be in reality, but I can dream, can’t I?

Obviously not everyone agrees with me when it comes to viewing holidays as work-free zones, which means that many of you, unfortunately, have work-related holiday horror stories to tell. If you’d like a sympathetic ear to listen to your tales of woe, post it to our discussion below or send me an e-mail. Your story doesn’t have to involve actually working on a holiday; it could, for example, just be a particularly nasty project timetable caused by the holidays.

Be as detailed as you can; this is, after all, a contest. While I’ll still feel for you if you simply write in to tell me you worked 22 hours last Christmas Eve, you likely won’t win the prize. What prize? Right, I didn’t mention that yet. From all the submissions I receive, I’ll choose the best horror story of holidays past or present—a best of the worst, if you will—and reward the author with a spiffy, very limited edition long-sleeve shirt.

Just one rule: Developers only
Now, I’m aware that developers don’t have any kind of monopoly on holiday horror stories—any good system admin will have three or four to tell. However, inasmuch as this is a Web site meant for developers, I’ll be limiting the contest entries to stories written by developers about events that occurred as they were working as developers. So don’t go writing me about “The day HP’s disk stood still” and expect to win yourself a shirt, okay?

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