Holidays and the Micro ISV

On Monday, while US readers were observing Memorial Day, we had our own holiday here in the UK: the Spring Bank Holiday. Traditionally, it was for Whitsun, a moveable religious festival, but now it always falls on the last Monday in May.

I’ve been working to my own schedule for quite a few years now, so I only tend to remember our holidays if I try to book an appointment with someone. This time I said I’d call in and see a customer early this week, and they were kind enough to remind me not to come on Monday.

If that seems surprising, you’re not alone. My wife, as an American in the UK, often points out that we just don’t do holidays like they do back in the US. Having been with my in-laws last 4th July, I understand what she means. Aside from Christmas, Easter, and New Year, our public holidays have devolved into generic days off, and it’s entirely possible for them to creep up and pass by unnoticed.

As you probably know, a Micro ISV’s work is never done, so it’s rare that I feel entitled to suddenly take the day off, even when I do find out about the holiday in time. It doesn’t seem to bother my wife, as she hasn’t developed any special attachment to our holidays, and usually has to work the US ones. But, it’s not unusual for other friends or family to assume that I must be free on holidays. Working from home, it can be difficult to convince some people that I’m ever busy, holiday or not, but that’s a whole other topic.

Do all you other Micro ISVs and freelancers out there observe your public holidays? Does it cause problems with friends and family? Do you have any rules, stories, or advice to share?

My Rules

The major holidays... Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year's, Easter, and the 4th of July - Independence Day, my esteemed British friend ;) - I take off.

Memorial Day and Labor Day I take off a day around there, but not necessarily the day exactly. Other days - Martin Luther King Day, Columbus Day, etc - I normally don't do anything special.

I'm bad

I don't use a calendar, so I often have situations like you described of offering to meet or do something on a holiday, only to be reminded by the "9 to 5" employee that it is a day off. Except the 2 major ones: Christmas and 4th of July (it helps that those dates never shift, whereas most of them can fall on different days).