Management Today

Last year, I was back at work after a very short Christmas break and it's the same this time. I am sick of having to be one of the few who rush back between Christmas and New Year because I don't have children.

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

 Parents seem to have an automatic right to take all the Christmas period off because it's a 'family time'. What about all the rest of us? Obviously it's very difficult to raise this in the office as it would be seen as very un-PC, but I'd appreciate your advice.

A: Start by cooling down a little. It's no use getting all huffy about this and resenting your child-blessed colleagues - some of whom would almost certainly prefer to escape from those children as soon as possible after Christmas anyway. You've got a whole year to sort this out.

Talk first to your management or HR director. Suggest that, in future, they look for volunteers for this slot and offer some modest bonus for those who come forward: an extra day or two's holiday in the summer, perhaps, or a cash bonus or a dinner out for the whole family. The chances are that more than enough people will cheerfully take up the offer. But if that doesn't work, they should run a lottery: with similar compensations for those who find themselves picking the short straw.

The main thing is to help your management sort it, rather than muttering into your beer.

- Jeremy Bullmore has been creative director and chairman of J Walter Thompson London and a non-executive director of the both Guardian Media Group and WPP. Address your problems to Jeremy Bullmore at: Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.

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