fa la la la la…and just breathe…

I have to preface this post with this is just stuff I think about around the holidays. It’s not based on recent experiences, although some things may be based on past experiences. I am starting to get annoyed by the lack of reading comprehension with some of my posts. Take the one I wrote about the post office not delivering consistently. People are interpreting that as I am faulting the postal delivery workers themselves, I’m not and responsibility goes to the top of the post office here, but people aren’t reading enough into the post to figure that out.

So that’s the disclaimer. Either read on or scroll by.

Back to our regularly scheduled program….Let’s talk the holidays for a minute. It’s a chance for people to wind down OUTSIDE of work mode and spend time with their friends and families, right?

Well not everyone can manage this, sadly…Post COVID19 and living La Vida COVID, I have noticed boundary issues all across the board. The workplace is one of the worst examples.

We live in a world where technology allows us to work not only from everywhere, but all times of the day. So when you are working late at night or on weekends, you have to be mindful that while you feel you are being personally productive, you may be disturbing someone else.

How do I deal with this? If I am writing emails and responding at odd hours I may set an email up to actually send at a more appropriate time. Or I put things in draft form and set up a reminder to send them out at a more appropriate time. And I had to learn how to silence notifications, except for a select few on my phone, because I might be trying to be mindful of the time when I message people or email them, but others they don’t have the same compunction.

I work for myself and something that bugs me are people that think I should be available 24/7/365 even on holidays. Life doesn’t work that way, so I politely give them boundaries. “I am sorry that I couldn’t connect at that time dear client, I walk away from my email at X o’clock so I am present for my family.”

But then there are the people with whom you work with directly, or indirectly who never pick up on cues. Ever. You try to explain family time. Nope. You might have been sick. Nope. It doesn’t penetrate and it’s hard to deal with those with a lack of self awareness in this area. Those are the people whom I think you have to put on at least a temporary Amish shunning. Personally I am unapologetic about that after bosses from decades past who would literally call when I was home sick. I was never one who took recreational sick days, so if I was out sick, I was actually sick.

Being productive does not mean working 24/7/365. Don’t be a work martyr. The more life balance you have actually makes you MORE productive. It also shows your respect of others with whom you interact with and possibly work with as well.

I remember (and not fondly) the year-end and holiday frenzy when I was full on in the 5 days a week office trenches as in full time. People suddenly waking up to show how valuable (and neurotic) they were in hopes of getting that giant bonus. News flash: bonuses are the sum of the parts of the entire year. Be consistent all year round. Duh, it’s pretty simple.

And let’s talk bonuses. I remember being a sales assistant at Prudential Securities in the 80s. Brokers were getting big firm bonuses this one year at the holidays, yet the firm as in corporate, gave support staff a choice of a box of chocolates or a 5 pound canned Polish ham. Sales assistants and other support staff worked their asses off, so if you didn’t have a broker who paid you an actual bonus out of theirs, well that was not so fun. Back then I worked for a cheapskate who also wanted his assistants to cold call out of the social register.

I also remember what I called the “spawn tax.” Every year although who took what day off was supposed to be fair and equitable, it wasn’t. And if you were unmarried or without children you always got last pick of days off during the holidays. Try explaining that year after year to friends and family who wanted to do things with you. When I was single, I called it the “spawn tax” because if you didn’t have kids, there were plenty of co-workers who felt that you should just suck it up and let them take time off. Of course those were some of the same people shopping on QVC’s website during the work day.

This time of year, consideration matters. And in today’s world, boundaries should matter too. Unless of course one is pro-slavery.

Don’t be a Grinch and don’t be a Scrooge…and don’t be a suck up. Mutual respect also matters.

Happy Holidays from my desk to yours. I wish I could say I miss full on, full time Corporate America, but I do not.

And remember to tip and/or gift your service providers – USPS, refuse service folks, office cleaners. Even if you can’t afford money tips, a nice bag of Christmas cookies or something holiday festive is always appreciated. I tend NOT to give alcohol gifts because you don’t know who may have an issue.

And be thankful for what you have.

Carry on and Happy Holidays!

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