Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

December 2006

Home for the Holidays

Hurry, hurry, hurry! The holidays are coming! The holidays are coming!

It’s important for businesses to make plans for the year-end holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. These are three holidays that refuse to be Monday-ized. Turkey day is on a Thursday, period. Christmas and New Year’s are a week apart on whatever days the 25th and 1st fall (this season, Mondays).

Adding a Friday to Thanksgiving works well for factories and the like where firing up the boiler or whatever begs a longer run than one day to be efficient. Likewise, just closing the factory, except for maintenance, is an efficient answer to the December holiday period.

One of my first legitimate jobs (I’ve had several more since then, I assure you) was as an internal auditor for a large — really large — conglomerate. At the end of my first two assignments, both in Kansas City, Mo., I was sent home for the Christmas holidays. Home, in those days, was my mother’s apartment in Boston. Since my job was 100 percent travel, I had no need for my own rented or owned lodgings.

Some of the audit staff were a bit more worldly than I was, and therefore, they listed their domiciles in tax haven places like Las Vegas or Miami. We were allowed to fly home one weekend per month and/or between assignments, a very neat deal for a young dude with no dependents, dogs, cars or significant others.

While on assignment, I had my own place, sometimes a motel or hotel room but often a furnished apartment. I was in what educated young people of the day called “hog heaven.” Besides my salary and lodging costs, I was allowed something like six and a half bucks a day for a daily paper, shoe shine and food. I’m talking 10-cent papers, quarter shines and a nickel scoop of ice cream on your apple pie. Like most of my internal auditing peers, I lived on my expenses and let my paychecks pile up.

The reason, of course, that the company sent all the auditors home for the holidays was simple. We were wet blankets, bad for morale, a bunch of gotcha guys, cage rattlers, jerks, distractions, wise guys, bullies and creeps.

I really loved that job.