October 31, 2005

Floating Holidays

Surya is my mentor in the new job. He's a great guy, very smart, very funny and talks reeeeally fast. I work with computers, and thus have dealt with my share of Indian co-workers, and I try to keep my stereotypes supressed. And then Surya calls me today.

Surya: "Cood morning, Chris how are you?"
Chris: "Good, Surya, and you?"
Surya: "Good, Good. Tell me, what do you know about this 'Floating Holiday'...thing? It says we have four of these per year."
Chris: "Oh, it's a few extra vacation days that companies give employees, to take for holidays celebrated in their religion, or country that we don't have off here in America."
Surya: "Hmmm. Really?"
Chris: "Yeah Really. It's a nod to the growing cultural diversity of the corporate workforce... or something. " (I must have read that somewhere. I would never talk like that otherwise.)
Surya: "This is incredible to me. I am working for the company for three years and I never heard of this. I am working like a slave and not taking a vacation day yet until just recently."
Chris: "Well, you have every right to take them off."
Surya: "This is good something to know. First of November is a major holiday in India, where we burn a lot of crackers." (The image of a flaming 'Saltine' enters my head.) "I mean firecrakers, fireworks. A big day."
Chris: "Then by all means, take it off. Just tell your supervisor. Take all four of them by the end of the year or you lose them."

It was like listening to a child asking what this "Christmas" thing was all about.

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