When the Night Falls Quiet…

With the Christmas season in full swing we decided to head out to the coal mine and dig up some presents for all you naughty boys and girls! Welcome to the silly season! The time of the year where you let your hair down, enjoy a drink or two and from time to time make an absolute arse of yourself at the company Christmas party only to regret your actions the next day as your hangover kicks in, your re-flux system goes into overdrive and you start your full day of hugging the porcelain throne feeling sorry for yourself as you rid yourself of the previous evenings poison.

The seasoned veterans here at A Mind of Its Own have taken it upon themselves to put together a public service announcement outlining what not to do over the silly season no matter how good an idea it seems at the time. Call it our civic duty to our adoring fans or call it a much-needed look at the realities of christmas parties around the world. Whatever you do this silly season follow this advice and do not do what the clowns in these examples have previously done. It did not end well for any of the sampling of people we have used as examples.

Office Christmas parties, a time of year where you can celebrate and blow off some much-needed steam with your colleagues after what is often a hectic run up to the Christmas period. That does not excuse any of the following behaviour and nine times out of ten will land you in hot water with human resources or worse case in front of the boss receiving your marching orders effective immediately without that much need reference and let’s be honest christmas and the new year is not the time you want to be looking for a new job. Last thing you want to be doing is explaining to your wife, partner, housemates and or parents how and why you got fired. Merry Christmas to you here’s a Centrelink form happy dole bludging.

First things first, there is acceptable behavior, questionable behaviour and then there is the just don’t do at Christmas Parties. Whether the party be for your work or with family or friends. If you have to ask yourself if its ok then like the Christians ask themselves ‘What would Jesus Do?(WWJD)’ ask yourself ‘What would sober me do? (WWSMD)’. We’ve all seen the effect Alcohol can have on people. When we finally get to see some of our colleagues on the sauce whilst it might be absolutely hilarious at the time watching them make a fool of themselves just remember that could be you or once upon a time was you till you wised up and worked out work not to shit where you eat.

So this festive season take our advice and the advice of those that have gone before us. Please don’t do any of the following no matter how good it seems at the time! Remember WWSMD!

1.Drunkzilla…FREE Drinks! You beauty! Now before you go off blazing into the sun and making sure you get your fill of freebies remember to pace yourself. Generally the Christmas party goes for a couple of hours and then if you are cool enough you head out to a nightspot with those still up for a party. With a long night ahead it is important to ensure you are there at the end of it with your mates. Don’t be the bar fly that downs drink after drink in an effort to recoup all those hours of overtime you never got paid for or the salary increase you are well and truly overdue. Only to be stumbling into a taxi two hours after the party began. Enter Dave, Dave is a hard-working enthusiastic guy who does a lot of things for people around the office whether he has time or not without pushing back. When he can Dave likes to let his hair down and throw back a schooner or two with his colleagues. Come Christmas time Dave is often feeling a little unappreciated and disgruntled. Reluctantly he attends the Christmas party lured by the free beer on offer. Within the first hour Dave has had downed six beers and is well on his way to drunk-town population Dave. By the end of the Christmas party Dave has no idea who he is, where he is or what he is doing, his legs don’t work and drinks keep finding the floor… Don’t be a Dave!

2. The Hula Hypothesis… So some genius in marketing or HR decides you should have a themed Christmas party, because nothing says merry Christmas like watching your colleagues get dressed up in some theme that makes them feel good for a day. You’re thinking to yourself great a Christmas party with people I barely tolerate in some god awful theme! Can I just poke myself in the eyes now? Some of the classic themes are the ugly sweater as long as it doesn’t have reindeer mating its appropriate, Mexican as long as you don’t go full Mexican it’s appropriate, Australian and the often popular Hawaiian theme. Ladies and Gentleman when we say be theme appropriate ask yourself if your outfit is something you really want you colleagues to remember you in for years to come and would you wear it if you weren’t at work?. Enter Trent.. Trent is well-respected around the office but is known for having an opinion, voicing said opinion and pushing the boundaries where and when he can. Trent’s company like many others decided to have a Hawaiian themed Christmas party. Trent being Trent decided that if the women could get away with Grass skirts, leggings, boob toobs/crop tops and coconut bras then Trent could get away with a grass skirt and a G-String. Ok it’s sticking with the theme, points there for Trent, however, while Trent thinks he has a good body and in the eyes of some people he might. The issue here is that Trent was not really wearing any clothes and it wasn’t appropriate for the office christmas party. There were a few complaints to HR… Don’t be a Trent!

3. Bruce Banner and Gamma Rays… It is a well known fact that alcohol which is a drug by the way people, lowers a person’s inhibitions. Often we will see a side of someone we’ve never seen before. Once they’ve had a couple of the amber ales or brown burners. As a depressant it can make people a little more sensitive than usual and in some cases that sensitivity can lead to the Hulk making an appearance where he does not belong. No one likes an Angry drunk. Hulk or She Hulk drunk should stay at home or around friends who know how to handle him or her. Whatever you do stay away from the Rum! Nothing good ever came from it unless you were conceived after a big night on the Rumbos down the local tavern, but you might want to tell your folks they are being a little too open with you if you know that. Enter Bruce… Bruce is usually the happy-go-lucky guy around the office. After a few drinks though Bruce can become quite sensitive and take things to heart, he’s also not a fan of condescending people around the office who think they are better than everyone. At the Christmas party Bruce didn’t take to kindly to the way the CTO was speaking to him and those around him. Within seconds Bruce transformed into the Hulk and rather than using his fists to rearrange the CTO’s face Bruce threw water in his face which caused the CTO to fire up and almost lead to a fight. Bruce is now banned from attending the Christmas party this year. Don’t be a Bruce…

3. The Closet Creep… We’ve all seen it when we’ve been out at a pub or club, there is always that one sleazy predator that’s sniffing around the ladies looking seedy as all hell. When that guy comes to the christmas party however and starts hitting on Marcia from Accounting who’s just gone through a divorce or Sarah from Marketing who’s had a recent string of bad luck with the men. That’s when he should be asking WWSMD? Enter Matt from IT, normally a shy, introverted character who barely says boo to anyone in the office except for “Have you check to see if it’s plugged in and turn it on and off, Did that work?”. Midway through the first of many lip looseners Matt spots Wendy from the corner of his eye. He’s had his eye on Wendy for some time now but hasn’t had the guts to ask her out on a date. Always the nice guy, Matt would normally just say hello and scurry off back to his desk before she could get out a response. But not tonight! With some Dutch courage now coursing through his veins, he’s feeling invincible and like he can talk to anyone. He’s come out of his Shy closet and morphed into that touchy feely creeper that women look at shake their heads in disgust. After Wendy rebukes his advances he moves on to Claudette in Sales and so on the circle goes until Matt gets too drunk to stay out and is put in a cab and sent home. Come Monday morning he’s in HRs office feeling more than a little ashamed and looking down the barrel of the Sexual Harassment policy for inappropriately touching someones bum. Don’t be a Matt…

4. Opinionation Station…While you might have been waiting all year to get a chance to talk to the CEO, the christmas party is not the place to discuss those little tidbits with the head of the company no matter how many drinks they’ve had and how much courage you have to finally voice your opinion. Enter Sarah… Sarah is an up and comer with the company, she’s a head down, bum up make it happen kind of girl, her boss loves her and she inline for a promotion. She’s found the champagne and as the bubbles go to her head she spies the CEO milling with the rest of the executive leadership team. I a wolf separating a week calf from the herd she’s sliced her way in between all the bigwigs. Normally not one to voice her opinion unless it’s behind closed doors with trusted colleagues Sarah has decided now is her time to speak. Launching into a diatribe about her vision for where the company should be going and urging the CEO to grow a pair and take a risk every now and then. Rather than worrying about his own bonus as he does every year. People try to pull her away but she is not done yet spewing the truth from her mouth like diarrhea. Everything that anyone has wasn’t to say to the CEO has found a voice. Literally every bad thing someone has said is voiced in the form of Sarah, she’s tanking her career in what she feels is only benefiting her advancement. She’s talking to the head honcho and telling them what they need to hear. No Sarah the reason things are said behind closed doors are because the CEO doesn’t want to hear them and if they do the person voicing them tends not to be around for long after doing so. Don’t be a Sarah…

The team had literally a handful if not more examples of that person not to be at your Christmas party this year! After much deliberation and chuckling around what should and shouldn’t go in this weeks post we chose the above five examples of people who not to be this year. What we can say is have fun but as always ask yourself WWSMD in this situation. If sober you is just as much of pest as drunk you than as the saying goes… You do, you! Just remember when the night falls quiet there is going to be a lot of noise the next day around your behaviour. Keeping in mind, with every action there is a reaction. From the team at A Mind of Its Own, have fun and most of all be safe this silly season. Always have a plan B or designated driver. Until next time keep it real…

Here Comes the Boom…

It’s another week of doubles as we attempt to make up for your lack of exciting reads in the past week due to being led around the country by our ties like a greyhound ready to chase that bunny around the track. In this instance the track like greyhound racing could be related to the business arena in which the bunny would be the client and we the dog are the dollar signs for the big corporate who see the cash flowing as we cross the line first in a mad sprint to secure new or existing business.

As we sat back in the airport, no not in the lounge that would cost the company further money they aren’t willing to spend to ensure the people bring in the big bucks would be comfortable while they waited for yet another flight in what had already been a long week a recurring thought popped into our head. You aren’t valued, you are just another body to them who is replaceable. Whilst right about now most of you are starting to think oh great another person who is going to write a woe is me peice and fill the airwaves and internet with their sob story about how they are undervalued in the workplace.

Well a part of you would be right but that’s not necessarily where we are going with this blog. What we wanted to explore was the change in culture and when did it all change from employees being valued to being just another number that helps the company continue to bring in the money, money, money. Small businesses whilst yes being small still manage to value their employees, recognising and rewarding them for doing a good job or when they go above and beyond to ensure the success of the company and yet looking at the mid to large-scale organisation there is no shortage of disenchanted people slaving away day in day out.

We spend over ninety percent of our lives working. We work to ensure we have food, shelter and are able to support our families. There are those that do it tough slaving away in blue-collar jobs while the white-collar workers continue to live comfortable lifestyles and often get richer all the while the poorer get poorer. So spending ninety percent of our lives at work, most people want to do something that they are passionate about and inspired to do, day in day out. But what happens when that passion and inspiration is overshadowed by corporate greed and the management’s own concerns for themselves and not the worker bees doing all the work to ensure the company continues to tick over?.

What happens is you have a workforce who very much feel like the work they do isn’t valued. You could be a top performer bringing in millions of dollars of revenue for a company and yet your input, value and knowledge are always overlooked when it comes to decision-making. Your level within the organisation isn’t one of influence and yet you treat everyone as an equal despite their role within the organisation. Everyone has something to add from the people who clean the workspace to guy sitting at the top but if you don’t value each individual for the skills, knowledge and experience they bring, before you know it they will start to feel like they aren’t valued or appreciated.

Just hearing the words ‘thank you’ or ‘great job’ can often make someone’s day but unfortunately in today’s workplace it often gets overlooked by management whose only concern is to report up that they are doing a great job watching over you all the while offering little to no support when it is needed the most. As long as their million dollar bonus comes in then there is no issues for them. So this is where it leaves the team at A Mind of It’s Own begin to question whether we have become a society of self-absorbed arseholes? Sorry for the swearing but their seems to be a common thread that shit flows downhill and we have little to no concern for those below us on the totem pole.

Here’s where all the positive people pop up and start saying if you don’t like it change it, unfortunately your average joe’s influence over what doesn’t and doesn’t happen in the organisation they work for is limited to the sphere of influence they have around them. Yes they can go and look for another role but their in line another conundrum in the fact the glass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side either. Most of the time what they want isn’t something that will cost the company money and therefore eating into their profit margin.

If you were to ask most people though what they wanted out of their job, what would give them career satisfaction most of them would say the following. Most people want to feel valued for the work they do, they want to be respected, every now and they’d like to be recognised and perhaps rewarded for the work they put in. Give them opportunities and a career path with the tools to help get them there and you are doing more than a lot of managers and bosses are already doing. Continue to support and develop them and what you’ll get is loyalty and support from that person. They’ll pass it on to the next person in the chain and that knock on effect will see your company thrive.

At some point in the last Thirty years we have transitioned from being connected with our staff to almost treating them like just another number on the balance sheet. Perhaps technology is to blame, perhaps it’s globalisation but at some point we have started to lose touch with humanity and what its like to be a human being and treat everyone equally. Woman across the globe are slowly and I say slowly being given the opportunities they deserve in the workplace, equal rights again are slowly drifting in but we still often lack the basics when it come to treating everyone equal and like human beings.

To all people managers out there no matter what level you are within an organisation take heed of the following for your sake and that of your staff. EVERYONE HAS SOMETHING TO ADD and EVERYONE LIKES TO FEEL VALUED. Stop treating your staff like dollar signs and go back to treating them like the people they are, valuable employees who have something to add to your organisation. If they didn’t they wouldn’t have been hired in the first place. Men and Women around the world in workforces are there because they choose to be that doesn’t mean they should be treated without respect. A little empathy goes a long way in life.

From the team at A Mind of Its Own, we hope that you’ve found some value in this blog. Remember you need to be happy in your job and you should always feel valued. If you are doing a great job and it feels like your contribution is always overlooked there is something wrong. Work should never be something you despise and hate going to. It should be a place you are inspired to go to and driven to succeed in, after all you spend the majority of your life doing it so happiness should be a key condition of all those in the workforce. Until next week, we hope work is fun this week and feel free to flick the link to your boss…