Saturday, September 03, 2022

Regarding Holiday Weekends

Holiday weekends are always a tough thing for freelancer writers.  These include the standard holiday weekends such as Memorial Day and Labor Day; uncommon holiday weekends where a holiday falls on a Friday through Monday, creating a three-day weekend for business people; and also uncommonly celebrated holiday weekends that include holidays not observed by all companies, such as President's Day.  I'd also include that pesky Friday after Thanksgiving, which many business people get or take off.

Holiday weekends are difficult for freelancers because typically our family, friends, and people we would consider colleagues have paid days off for these holidays.  They get to enjoy a three-day weekend (or four-day weekend, for Thanksgiving) without actually taking time off.  And they typically expect us to have the day off too, inviting us to barbeques, dinner parties, weekend getaways, and the like.  Because why wouldn't we have the day off?  We're in charge of our own schedules.

Obviously this is on my mind because this is a holiday weekend, and my husband has Monday off.  On top of that, my mom is visiting, but not until Monday afternoon.  It's all complicated by the fact that I have several deadlines midday Tuesday, so I have to plan ahead in order to meet those.  And since I wasn't able to get the work done during the week, it means I'll be working on the holiday weekend.

After 17 years as a freelance writer, I've worked a lot of nights and weekends.  In fact, as you probably remember from my other posts, working late is my preference.  That doesn't mean, however, that I'm available all the time.  Just like any other worker, I require time off during the week to spend time with my family and enjoy personal hobbies.

I don't blame any of my clients for my current predicament of having to work this weekend.  I knew about several of the deadlines a couple weeks ago, and since I had planned to get the work done this past week, hadn't noticed that they were due right after Labor Day weekend.  I do, however, think many freelancing job platforms bear responsibility at least in part for the "always on" notion of freelancer schedules, as they allow clients to assign work with a deadline expressed in hours (24 hours, 36 hours, etc.) without regard to weekends or holidays.  For instance, one client assigned me four blog posts yesterday, with two of them due in 48 hours - which, even if I had waited as long as possible to accept them (and assuming I did not forget) would have made them due on Tuesday, immediately following a holiday weekend.

Please, if you appreciate and respect your freelancers, try to be aware of their schedule when requesting work.  Not all freelancers avoid working on the weekends - in fact, some work weekends out of necessity - so if they've shared their work schedule with you, try to keep that in mind when assigning work.  Best practice is to always request new work at least a week out, so that your freelancer can complete it with whatever time works best for them throughout the week, not to mention juggle it with any work they have for other clients.

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