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Welcome to July 4, a day that all business owners quietly reflected on last December while sketching out their 2023 work schedules (probably on a Sunday evening while still at their desks). This quiet reflection was quickly followed by a series of teeth gnashing, hair pulling and imaginative use of the “F” word as a noun, verb, adjective and adverb in the same sentence. It wasn’t July 4th alone that precipitated the meltdown. July 4th was just the tipping point from which there was no recovery.

It started right out of the gate with New Year’s Day, which although falling on a Sunday would be celebrated on the subsequent Monday. A big red X right through January 2. A look further into January would show that January 16 would be the official celebration date for Martin Luther King Day. Another big red X. So rather than having 22 work days in January, they were down 2 to 20. Big sigh.

February looked ok from a calendar perspective with the only official holiday, Presidents’ Day, on the 20th. Unfortunately, a closer examination revealed that Valentine’s Day Tuesday the 14th would closely trail the Superbowl on Sunday the 12th. Oy vey! A big red question mark on Monday the 13th and a big red X through the 20th. Out of 20 potential work days, probably 18 actuals. Paper crumpling.

March looked salvageable with only the change to daylight savings time on Sunday the 12th (meaning no one would be anywhere on time the following Monday) and the fortunate position of St. Patrick’s Day on Friday the 17th. That Friday, most of the staff would probably be focused until at least lunchtime. So, 22 potential work days, likely coming in around 21 real days. Things were looking up!

On it went. April, 20 work days, but after Good Friday, Easter travel and the anxiety of tax filing, probably down to 18 ½. May, 23 work days but forget Cinco de Mayo and the Friday before Memorial Day and Memorial Day itself, netting out to 20. Whew, glad to get the 20! June had 22 potentials, but then the new one, Juneteenth, popped up on the 19th. The 30th fell on the Friday before the 4th of July week, so that was likely a wasted day as well leaving 20 work days in June, which is also Pride Month. Ohboyoboyoboy.

As referenced earlier, July is pretty much toast. Monday the 3rd , Tuesday the 4th, and at least half of the 5th will be a wipeout. Not to mention (although I will) the pinching and shoving that accompanied the fight for vacation time the week of the 4th which allowed the victors to get a solid ten days off work for the price of 4 vacation days.

The rest of the year will offer plenty of challenges. After August, which the Federal Holiday Planning Office has reserved for vacation time instead of holidays, things will accelerate. But today, on July 4, you can ignore the calendar, go out and enjoy the fireworks, hamburgers and ice cream and be happy that you live in a country where you can have a business, a family and a say in how that country is run. Remember, July 4 is Independence Day.

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