Saturday 4 December 2021

By Christmas - by Ciaran Murtagh

The 'by Christmas' emails started early this year. It happens every year, but this year they feel even more daunting. It's understandable really, it's been a crazy year, so it's no wonder everyone is dreaming of their well deserved breaks. It always feels like some kind of cosmic game of 'hot potato' with everyone trying to get everything off their desk 'by Christmas', whoever's left holding the biggest inbox won't get presents from Santa. 

But it always feels like such an arbitrary deadline, particularly this year and particularly if you're a freelancer. A lot of offices are closing on the 17th December and won't be reopening until January 5th. So 'by Christmas' actually means a week before and no one will touch it until 2022. Why the rush?

As a freelancer with multiple projects all wanting things 'by Christmas', this always adds unnecessary pressure, and it seems that I'm having to work myself silly so that it can then sit unread in someone's inbox until the New Year. My lifestyle isn't 9-5 and actually isn't constrained by public holidays. In fact, you'll get much better work out of me if you let me 'work the holidays' than apply pressure to get stuff done by an arbitrary deadline that really doesn't apply to me - my office never closes! 

I'll be able to grab an hour or two, or even a whole morning sometime between the 27th December and the 3rd January that'll mean I give more time and attention to your project than I will at 9.30pm on the 16th so I can get it to you 'by Christmas'. 

I understand that holidays are precious and we don't want to infringe on people's rights to a break. But truth be told freelancers tend to be freelancers exactly because they don't like the rigid 9-5 structure of normal office hours, so when those deadlines and constraints start to impinge upon us it causes undue stress. 

I'm not saying we don't want holidays, I'm saying ask us about how we like to work. If  receiving something on the 17th December is actually the same as receiving something on the 3rd January then give us the option and the time and the space to work at some point in between, everyone will benefit from it - and we'll probably be doing it anyway. I don't know about you, but the minute I'm told to take a break, my brain starts giving me ideas I simply have to write! 

But just in case you do get some time this Christmas, have a look at some of my festive work. My Christmas specials are building up... It's the most magical - and frantic - time of the year! 

Danger Mouse - Melted - CBBC - 5/12 - 07:45
Alphablocks - CBeebies - 5/12 - 09:40
Numberblocks - CBeebies - 12/12 - 09:35 
A Very Diddy Christmas - CBBC - 17/12 - 14:45
Crackerjack Christmas Special - CBBC - 25/12 - 10:05

No comments: