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Celebrate the holiday tomorrow, but today we work

Published Oct. 4, 2005

This is a rare Monday in America, where so many holidays are engineered to fall on the most cursed work day of the week.

Yesterday was the weekend. Tomorrow is a holiday. But today, for many, is an official work day.

That might make this the toughest Monday of the year for many Americans to roll out of bed and head to work. It seems like such a rude interruption to have a work day sandwiched in the middle of leisure days like that.

Many may have chosen not to torture themselves and took today off. When the alarm blared this morning they clicked it off, smiled happily, rolled over and went back to sleep.

But for many others the morning alarm brought curses and moans. They may show up for work today in body only.

"I know that they are going to come in here on Monday and they aren't going to want to be here," Tom Lockhart, director of materials control for Fedco Systems Co., predicted last week. "As far as production _ well it decreases production."

About half of Fedco's employees took today off, Lockhart said, but some employees have to be there today. The Odessa company makes bakery machinery. If somebody's Twinkie-stuffing machine breaks down, Fedco needs to be open so it can get the needed replacement part to them.

Lockhart planned to be there today.

"I guess I will have to be because I am filling in for some who are off," he said.

The management of Virgo Optics in Port Richey decided not to even bother asking their 60 employees to come in today.

"We are closed on Monday," said Mary Beth Toland, the company's administrative manager. "We felt that it would be such an unproductive day."

The company, which makes optics for lasers, has a floating holiday day that it decided to put in place for Monday this year.

"Everyone appreciates it and they realize that every company doesn't do that," she said.

No one should worry that a low worker productivity rate today will cause the country's economy to crumble, said Kenneth Goldstein, an economist for the Conference Board, a business research organization.

"None of it is new," Goldstein said of the low productivity near holidays.

He is not even sure that, given the Peter Principle, most suppervisors will even notice if workers slack off a bit today.

"That assumes that the empty suits aren't all that empty to begin with," he said. "The difference between the supervisors and the non-supervisors is that the non-supervisors have a brain."

Clerk of the Pasco Court Jed Pittman expects today to be no different than any other at the courthouse.

"We are really motivated. We have a job to do, and we will be here doing it," he said. "I haven't heard any grumbling or mumbling."

He also doesn't expect many employees under his jurisdiction to take the day off.

"We discourage extending weekends," he said.

And, yes, Pittman plans to be there today too.

Many other Pasco workers will be at work today, because they expect it to be a good day for business.

"I am definitely going to be working," said real estate agent Shirley Culotta. "I feel that I am going to be busy over this weekend. People may spend some of that time looking for that dream home."

Summer is kind of a busy home shopping time anyway, she said, because people vacation in the area and decide to look into moving to the area.

"I fully expect that there will be a good many of those people floating around the area looking for housing," she said.

People will be working today at Ewing and Thomas, a physical therapy business in New Port Richey. But they may have more motivation than the typical worker.

Ewing and Thomas is owned by its employees.

"Actually we are not closed on Monday, and at this point we haven't heard any grumbling or anything," said Delores Thomas, a company founder. "And I don't expect that to happen.

"It really is a different cultural environment when you have a stake in the company while you are working. It's the difference between whether you own your own home and whether you rent somewhere. The work we are putting into it is our ticket for the future."

We at the Times will be working today, unless we elected to take vacation. I'll be at work too, but I can assure you my alarm clock suffered some abuse this morning. And, well, you might not want to try calling me at work after 3.