[starbox] With only a few days before the Holiday Break, gear shops big and small are diligently trying to get important projects completed. People with travel plans are studying weather reports and counting the hours until they can get going. Other employees have “drawn the short straw” and will be holding down the fort during the break. My family moved around the country with my work, so when the children were young we alternated between cross-country trips to the grandparents and short visits by the grandparents to our home. Some road trips were more exciting than others; you never quite forget leaving home when it is -24F and not shutting the car off for 13 hours for fear it wouldn’t re-start. But I have fond memories of the years I was “stuck” at the office with other people who had used up all their vacation days. We got some good work done, made friends we would otherwise have been too busy to make, and learned to do new things because there wasn’t anyone else around to do them. I appreciated the lack of supervision and the opportunity to get re-organized for the New Year. It was a wonderful chance to get busy on the quoting backlog too; empty IN baskets make for an interesting start to the year. Younger employees shouldn’t consider “working the shutdown” to be a bad thing. Use the time wisely; try to make some new friends, and learn some new skills. Maybe read a good “gear” book or take an online AGMA course. You might enjoy being part of the skeleton crew more than you thought possible.