Miss Management: Your enjoyment is anticipated, and will be enforced (part 1)

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Years ago, when I worked in a small, idiosyncratic publishing company in the midwest that has since been slowly dissected and absorbed by a large, soulless publishing company on the east coast, we published a magazine called Training, edited by the highly competent and extremely curmudgeonly Jack Gordon. Being basically similar in nature but widely different in politics, we entertained ourselves and our co-workers with sporadic literary exchanges in which he would advise me that “Gloria Steinem should have stayed in the bunny suit and spent her life burning toast” and I would counter by posting a mock press release about how Training editor Jack Gordon had been spiritually reborn after seeing the face of Elvis on an abandoned freezer in his back yard.

(It’s true. In 1963, noted feminist Gloria Steinem wrote "I was a Playboy Bunny," a freelance exposé about working undercover at the New York City Playboy Club. Jack usually had his facts right. It was his opinions that were the problem. Now that we’re connected on LinkedIn, maybe I’ll find out if he ever learned how to spell ‘pterodactyl.’)

Jack also once wrote an article for Training entitled “Structured Fun,” in which he discussed how some companies attempted to use humor to boost morale in the workplace, but did it in a way that was obviously the result of having some overpaid consultant, often from New Jersey, advise them to pit one department against another in a rousing quarterly game of badminton. (Isn’t it common knowledge that only dodgeball works in these professional situations?)

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a rousing quarterly game of badminton, of course. The point, ultimately, was that planning mandatory company-wide fun is in danger of  backfiring unless that company already benefits from a culture in which employees are encouraged to enjoy themselves with some inspired tomfoolery once in a while. Ultimately, it fosters creativity, initiative, better morale and improved productivity.

Click here to read part 2 of this series


Comments are the opinion of individual posters and do not reflect the views of Specialty Fabrics Review or Industrial Fabrics Association International.

  • Chris Nolan

    A Christmas Sail

    Living in the deep,deep south has its advantages, one being that we have a beautiful harbour on our doorstep; and another that Christmas occurs at the height of summer! 

    Why not then arrange a sailing race in conjunction with the Christmas Party? Sales Reps and Customer Service versus Management and Administration! Losers cook the barbeque and serve the beer afterwards!

    A great idea, and even greater success! The light hearted, humurous banter exchanged by the makeshift crews of two similar Beneteau 36 footers, as they sailed for two hours with bowsprits practically touching, was just great fun!

    The point is that fun is spontaneous, not mandatory; and companies should sponsor employee social functions simply to say 'thank you, we appreciate you'. Any other motive stinks!  



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