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Every single year, our office manager, Roberto, makes appointments during this time when he should know—just as he’d known for the past five years—that we’re off.

Who makes appointments on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur?

Be aware of your boss’s traditions and holidays. Or else it’s just going to be embarrassing.


In fact, be aware of the holidays of people you work with directly. If a co-worker you interact with on an almost daily basis is celebrating year 5774, send him a Happy New Year email.

It doesn’t matter if you’re Jewish, Muslim or whatever. It’s about being aware of your network’s traditions. So when time comes and the holidays roll out, you not only know not to schedule appointments, meetings or events, but also that this is the time you should be wishing people a happy holiday.

Uncle David and Roberto always celebrate the Night of a Thousand Stevies, “the largest and most beloved Stevie Nicks fan event in the world.” Auntie Evan never forgets that this day is off-limits.

And that’s exactly how you should operate in the office.

Honor other people’s cultures, traditions and holidays. Don’t throw a banquet or anything. Just ask them if they’ll need help around the office that day. Acknowledging that you know is enough.

Let’s say your boss is gay. And you just put a little equality flag on your desk on Gay Pride Day. Or you put the flag up on your Facebook profile pic for a day.

The acknowledgement makes all the difference.

It can get you a lot of respect. It’s how you network and get jobs. Don’t miss the opportunity to show that you are aware of what others find important.

It’s also vital to be aware of what you’re entitled to during your holidays.

Private employers can make employees work on holidays. There’s no state of federal law against that. However—and here’s the catch—there are laws that ban religious discrimination.

So it’s illegal to let your employees off on Christmas but not Hanukah if there are both religions in the office.

What a lot of companies do is give you a set number of personal days you can take off.

If your boss isn’t giving you these but she is giving others a day off for their holiday, you need to tell her to give you the equivalent days off.

(The Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires employers to accommodate employee’s religious holidays.)

Wrapping it up, it makes a huge difference if you reach out and acknowledge your employer’s, co-workers’ and friends’ religions and traditions. It’s enough to warrant you respect, grow your network and even grant you a job opportunity.

Also know your own rights when it comes to taking days off. You’re entitled by law.

Till next time.

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