12 employees reveal what it’s really like to work on Thanksgiving — and it’s not always a bad thing

For employees, there are pros and cons to working on Thanksgiving. Gunnar Rathbun/AP

Thanksgiving is typically a holiday spent feasting with family, but some people spend the holiday working.

If you’ve never been on the schedule for Thanksgiving Day, you may not understand that there are two sides to what working this day means.

Whether they chose to work Thanksgiving or not, these 12 employees reveal what working on Thanksgiving is really like.

Although Insider cannot independently verify these stories and individual experiences, they are certainly eye-opening.

Working the holidays is a great way to get paid more.


“I work at a hotel so holidays are just another day for me. The end of the year holiday season is nice because you get paid extra and there’s almost no one here.” – Redditor XVermillion

But holiday pay isn’t a thing for everyone.


“What’s this ‘holiday pay’ you speak of? I’m genuinely livid that we aren’t paid more per hour [on Thanksgiving].

“I’m even more livid that [the company] basically uses my job as leverage to force me to come in. Since it’s an ‘event day,’ if I call out, even with my protected sick time and paid time off, I can be fired.” – Redditor AviatorMage

Sometimes customers can get too amped.


“I’m a store manager and I regularly have to work Thanksgiving. Thankfully, I only have to work a 10-hour shift instead of the usual 12 at our store. Most people are extremely friendly, but some customers get too amped up for the holiday and treat our staff like crap. We get penalty rates most years, too.” – Redditor Freakalicous

You can use it as an excuse to shop Black Friday sales early.


“I volunteered to work the 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift tonight … [I get] holiday pay and it gives me a reason to shop early for Black Friday deals since I’m already out of the house.” – Redditor BeifongWingedBoar

It’s an easy way to avoid family.


“My mum and I used to work at an urgent care clinic. She hated doing Thanksgiving with our family, her in-laws. We used to lie to our family and say that everyone was required to work at least one holiday and we both got stuck with Thanksgiving, but really it was time and a half to not drive all the way to a crappy family gathering.” – Redditor verovladamir

Sometimes you feel appreciated and customers have sympathy for you.


“I’m not particularly fond of [Thanksgiving], so I was fine with working it. I did appreciate my guests telling me they hoped I got to go home soon and that they appreciated my being there.” – Redditor crummyvelvet

Sometimes it’s voluntary and the extra pay is really appreciated.


“People are demonizing the retailer I work at part-time for being open in the evening on Thanksgiving. I didn’t have to work. It was voluntary. This has been getting me out of fake a– family time for years and I even get paid well for it.” – Redditor RiflemanLax

Sometimes your company schedules you no matter what.


“My store had a sign-up sheet. It was filled beyond the available spaces on the sheet with volunteers. Only like three people didn’t sign up. I was one of those three and they still scheduled me. Seriously, almost the entire staff wasn’t enough?” – Redditor drstinkfinger

Being able to help others can be a real motivator.

“I’m working straight through Christmas and New Year’s Eve setting up T- cell cultures from cancer patients in a drug trial … I get to know that the patients were allowed a week with their families before going back to a second round of drugs and back to feeling s—– again. So I got that going for me.” – Redditor lysozymes

The shift hours can be different than usual, giving you the entire day with your family and only having to work at night.


“Luckily, I start at 7 p.m and finish my shift at 2 a.m. Here’s the kicker: I get time and a half up to midnight.” – Redditor Pokabu

Some companies offer triple-time and even bring their employees food and gifts.


“The company I work for is great… You were given the option to not work on whichever holidays you choose. Why? Because they pay triple time and have tons of food and give you a $US25 gift card just for working a holiday.

“There are tons of people lined up to work holidays, but I’m keeping mine. I won’t miss anything since I work overnight and I dig that TRIPLE-TIME MONEY!

“But, I am really, really sorry for the [workers at] companies that make people work holidays when they don’t want to.” – Redditor jennthemermaid

It can help you earn extra holiday money.


“I love working holidays. It’s slow and I get holiday pay plus overtime for hours worked. I have four holiday days this year and New Year’s Day, so the next few checks will have extra money. It’s [a nice way to get] a bit of extra holiday money.” – Redditor jechapk