Scrooge is alive and well in the workplace.
No, I’m not talking about an old man who is screwing the workers out of holiday bonuses. I’m not talking about a boss who forces everyone to work on Christmas Eve. And I’m not talking about a cheapskate who won’t spring for a holiday gift.
Scrooge is much more subtle. Care to take a look?
The Ghost of Christmas Past
Remember the days when we looked forward to the “after-work” holiday party? We even drew names for a “Secret Santa” and brought homemade cookies? But somewhere along the line, everyone started buying gift cards and bringing store-bought cookies, and some people actually expected to get “paid” for staying after work. And Santa got a bad wrap because he bought a few inappropriate gifts and had too much eggnog.
Unfortunately, office holiday parties are not like Vegas. What happens at the holiday party doesn’t stay at the holiday party. It remains workplace legend for years and years to come.
So we canned the “after hours” holiday party.
The Ghost of Christmas Present
Welcome to the holiday lunch. Scrooge may even host the lunch and spring for a few gift cards. He’s just glued to his cell phone during the festivities because he has “more important” things to do. The menu is preset, there is no mess or clean-up, and the lunch fits nicely into a 60-minute calendar invite on Outlook. (Ok, maybe 90 minutes, but who’s counting?)
The great thing about the holiday lunch? We already spend too much time at work – so who wants to hang out with our coworkers after hours? We can check the holiday party off the “list” while keeping our colleagues arms length. And everyone gets a Starbucks card instead of a gift – because we need more caffeine to keep us productive at work!
The Ghost of Christmas Future
Holiday gatherings at work are for people who don’t have enough to do. Forget the lunch. Forget the gift cards. Everyone just wants CASH! It’s bad enough that people have to work together. Why fake the good will?
Christmas cheer should be reserved for our personal lives. Who needs the jingle jangle at work? Holiday parties decrease productivity, create tension, and just add to the stress of the season. We’ve already had too much to eat and drink since Thanksgiving. Just let everyone off work an hour early in lieu of the holiday lunch, and send them to the treadmill!
I for one am not prepared to usher in the Ghost of Christmas Future! I’m not saying it’s easy to counter Scrooge, but let’s at least recognize what he’s up to and be intentional about sharing the joy of Christmas at work.
Is Scrooge making his way into your workplace this year? And, more importantly, what are you going to do about it?
[Looking for ways to share Christmas with your co-workers? Check out Diane Paddison’s post here.]