They call it work because it's just that: work. Otherwise they would call it sitting-on-a-beach-trying-to-decide-which-umbrella-should-occupy-your-drink. Even things that aren't necessarily recognized as work are work, like motherhood. Case in point, this morning Michael stuck his head in the bathroom where I was showering and said "Mom, there's green poop on the carpet downstairs!" Seeing as I had just spent the last evening scrubbing half a bottle of green lotion off the stairs, I wasn't too worried, even after Michael appeared again to report that it was in Leah's hair and on her blanket. Then Leah ran into the bathroom yelling "Mommy! Mommy! Nooooo!" and presented her blanket, which was indeed covered in green poop.
Um, I'd like to put in a request to take a half-day, please?
Unfortunately, the work of motherhood, like any job, isn't always suited to one's own desires. You have to work when you don't want to, and do things you don't want to do (I mean, not only did I clean up poop this morning, I just realized there is blood on the shoulder of my bathrobe and snot on my lap. Plus, I woke up before I wanted to with my stomach feeling questionable, and yet I still had to manage getting everyone diapered, fed, and dressed, and then, in the twins' case, bathed, even when I wanted nothing more than to go back to bed). Your job might require you to wake up in the middle of the night to work, or you might have to miss a party, or even a planned vacation. You might have to work on a holiday, and you might have to put in overtime.
That's life. That's work.
So I have little sympathy for Anthony Hardwick, the whiny Target employee who started a petition (now 80,000 signatures strong) to protest having to come in to work at 11:00 PM on Thanksgiving Day. Says Mr. Hardwick, "With the midnight opening, employees like myself will have to leave for work right in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner. We don’t mind hard work, but cutting into our holidays is a step too far.”
He'll have to leave in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner? Really? How long does it take him to get to work, six hours? Because I'm pretty sure no one waits till 10:00 at night to carve into the turkey.
But, let's give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he means he'll have to leave the dinner early to sleep in preparation for his shift. Even then, my sympathy is lacking. One day of inadequate sleep is not going to kill you. (Try motherhood on for size, Mr. Hardwick...) Skip the long snooze and enjoy the family party. Or skip the family party and take a long snooze. It's called sacrifice, Mr. Hardwick, and it's part of work.
Believe it or not, you are not the only person who is being required to adjust his Thanksgiving celebration. For heaven's sake, you are being asked to come in at 11:00 at night (when most families have long since finished their dinners) and are being paid time-and-a-half for your trouble. What about the policemen and doctors and transit employees who have to work the whole day? I'm sure they'd love to stay home. My own husband has missed everything from holidays to my birthday because he had to work. This year he might even miss my family reunion.
Anyone with a job will, at some point, have to work when they don't want to. It's not being picked on. It's not corporations "treating their workforce as serfs", as one entitled woman put it. It's work. It's not always fun.
That's why they pay you for it.