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Here’s to Year Long Merriment

December 22, 2011
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So the work week and the work year is winding down.  We’re soon to arrive at the long-awaited Christmas/New Year’s break and hit the midway point of Hanukkah.  Not to mention that other holiday tradition known as the Bowl Championship Series.

Some people have already mentally checked out at work and I’ve noticed an uptick in activity over the last several days as people participate in the annual ritual known as “I’m-taking-an-extended-lunch-hour-to-get-that-last-bit-of-shopping-done.”

Once we hit Thanksgiving week in the American workplace we begin to notice a bunch of good cheer, smiles, and plain old-fashioned good will.  Over the last several weeks, the general conversational opening by one-and-all has not been “how you liking this weather?” but rather “are you ready for Christmas?” (note: in the  US of A, especially in the south, the natural assumption is that one celebrates Christmas and not Mithras, Yule or nothing-at-all…)

And it’s all rather pleasant.

Companies are handing out gift cards, hams, bonus checks, and towering baskets of fruit. CEOs and managers are hosting office parties and closing the doors early to give employees extra time off.  Accounting Departments are holding Ugly Xmas Sweater Contests and awarding top prizes to HR ladies even though the nice ladies didn’t know the competition was being held, nor did they enter it.  But even those unwitting award-recipients, being in the holiday spirit, are laughing it off and making mental notes to stay on top of hipster trends from 2007.

Good will indeed.

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Sadly, however, that spirit of camaraderie, general joy and merriment seems to have an expiration date.  We hit January 2nd or 3rd or 7th (whenever the celebrating ends and the office re-opens) and it’s back to business as usual.  Barb from the M&A Department places her punchbowl with the 16 coordinating cups back on the closet shelf in her spare bedroom, sighing wistfully as she realizes it will be 12 months before she has reason to prepare her Holiday Punch with raspberry sherbet for the department pot luck.  Carl from IT deletes the 2011 Party Music playlist from his iPod and resigns himself to having to wait until next December before he can showcase his DJ skills once again for the guys and gals who work in Customer Support.

Not so pleasant after all.

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So I’m making a vow.  (Not a resolution cuz I suck at keeping resolutions.)  I vow to identify ways to keep the spirit of merriment and goodwill alive in the workplace all year.   Not just in the 5 weeks between Thanksgiving and the day everyone trudges back to the office, worn out and exhausted – but all year-long.

Ugly sweaters not necessary.

But I might ask Barb to make her punch.  That stuff is pretty damn tasty.

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