This week most of the Swedish working population got Thursday off courtesy of the oddly named official Swedish holiday Kristihimmelsfärdsdag. This translates loosely to "Christ Flew to Heaven Day"… or, as people familiar with the Christian calendar (which exludes the vast majority of Swedes under the age of 30) would call it, Ascension Day. For those of us who come from a country where the separation of chuch and state is at least discussed regularly if not actually practised, the fact that Ascension Day is an official state holiday is unsettling, but appreciated none-the-less!
There is further another interesting Swedish workplace custom that is practised whenever an official holiday falls on a Thursday…workers in non-essential jobs take the Friday off as well (called the Squeeze Day), thus creating a four-day weekend for themselves…usually with pay. Sometimes this is even a policy of an employer. Mine seems to fall half-way in-between on the Squeeze Day issue…instead of being granted what is essentially a free vacation day, we are "encouraged" to use some of our accumulated comp-time to take the day off. I am one of the few (3 out of 27 division employees) who had other plans for my comp-time…namely using it earlier in the weekend when my Mom was here.
So it’s been an extraordinarily quiet and VERY productive day at the office, which I needed given all the time off I took during my Mom’s visit. It’s amazing how much work one can get done when there are no phones ringing, no one walking into the office with something that needs to be published on the intranet RIGHT AWAY…heck even the commute was a pleasure. (Both the bus and the train were deserted.) And to top it off, it’s Friday!