The Admin That Got Schooled…. at the Holidays- An 2009 Update

Each holiday season is a particular challenge for me. I do not like to celebrate the Christmas holiday at the office.. or any other holiday at the office ..for that matter. I’m kinda funky that way. It’s just that for my personal beliefs.. I prefer to observe and participate in the privacy of my home life.. not at work-life.

Maybe we could come up with a new Hallmark holiday called, “Hooray! I survived another calendar year.” I think everyone I know wouldn’t mind observing that. Or are those just called ‘birthdays’? No.. I think it could be called AYOCS- Another Year of Company Survival.. Thoughts anyone?

Anyhow..I’m reposting this story about a previous position I held- and the attempt to survive a corporate culture that expected full holiday participation.. and if you didn’t feel it.. you should fake it. [Come to think of it..maybe that firm could start consulting on the love lives of marriages..but that’s not appropriate for this blog.]
My wish for all — a very peaceful New Year… financially, emotionally, globally etc.. fill in your [peaceful] need here. 🙂

The Admin That Got Schooled… at the Holidays.. 2008

Pardon the slang.. but I must confess to getting “schooled” about corporate culture. The term implies something one should have known.. and.. happens when another person or persons embarassingly, perhaps in a humbling manner.. shows us how it (fill in task here) is really done… Often it is used as a sporting reference, as in when a basketball player with phenomenal dribbling and passing- scores on a defensive player.. basically leaving them in their socks..

You get the idea.

Anyhow.. I’m not really too much of a holiday person. I indulge mostly for our daughter’s sake.. and if I’m really honest, I indulge for the grub. I dont’ care about your singing Santa at your desk.. but the green and red, M&Ms.. I’ll celebrate those..

About four years ago, the firm I worked for ..sponsored a cubicle and door decorating contest for the office for the holiday. Because I felt overwhelmed with work (and really wasn’t into the contest anyway) I delayed, hemmed, hawed.. stalled.. you name it. The lead admin on our floor of 18 admins kept coming by my cubical asking when I was planning on decorating. I told her, “I’m not participating.. I don’t have time.” Long story-short, as the judgement day came closer and closer, I held my position and refused to decorate. All around me, people were INTO it! Garland and streamers and silly stuff.. and loads of candy at their desks. Not me.. No way. Judgement day came…. and I arrived at my cubicle to .. you guessed it.. a fully decorated OVER THE TOP.. cubicle. The lead admin had waited for me to leave for the evening and taken it upon herself to decorate my sacred space! Many people gathered around and poked fun at it.. and a little bit at me. Comments ranged from..:”Why are you such a scrooge?” to “Well, you didn’t think (name here) would let you not participate, right?” But the real comment came about five months later, during an evaluation (the company does 360 evals); under teamwork and community- ” Not always a team player.example: holiday contest.” which my supervisor promptly asked me about.

Was I ticked? Absolutely. Was I self-righteous? You bet. But my co-workers had a point. Would it have killed me to put one little decoration up? No. Were they disrespectful to my wishes? Sure.. but the blame lay on me…. for misreading the corporate culture. Obviously, any firm that institutes a national office -wide cubicle display for the holidays is not so-subtly sending the message that holidays are important and participation in these type of corporate events is important. My resistance became more an issue of ego and pride – which did not allow me to see the bigger picture. Corporate culture should not be taken lightly… but I had to learn that lesson.

Nowadays.. it’s just easiest to put a small bowl of hershey green/red foiled kisses at the desk… and when people ask, I say..” I prefer to decorate in a restrained and classy manner.” (LOL!)

Happy Holidays!

Author: KMK Foley

Storyteller. Wicked sense of humor. Tenacious learner, Coffee Lover, especially Dunkin' Donuts.

2 thoughts on “The Admin That Got Schooled…. at the Holidays- An 2009 Update”

  1. I understand your point about participation. But, honestly, it’s nonsense. I don’t participate in Christmas and every year this time of year causes such awful stress for me. I’m forced to participate in company events that focus on Christmas. Religious aspects aside, I usually cannot afford to participate in Christmas related activities. It’s far too personal and embarrassing to say so, let’s face it. But, for example, this year, I had to participate in our companies’ pot luck Holiday Dinner. No biggie right? Did it kill me to bring the food? YES! IT DID! I haven’t been able to put groceries in my home, yet I had to hold my final $20 to purchase a dessert for 13 people that I work with. I think that we need to not let holiday become a measure of team player ability when participation in them is such a personal matter.

  2. Thanks for bringing this topic up. I too do not have time to participate in these office cultural things, whether it is Christmas, birthdays, potlucks or whatever non-work related function it is. I find in large organizations they have dropped most of these things, for instance observing birthdays, anniversaries, weddings or births, as it becomes a job in itself to administer. In the smaller organizations they are small enough that they continue these traditions and also small enough that it is very obvious when someone doesn’t participate. I think these things should be voluntary only. The person who decorated your cubicle was taking liberties with your personal space and I believe should not have done so.We live in a multi-cultural society and not everyone celebrates Christmas or birthdays. I prefer to leave these things to personal choice and leave it at home, not work.

Comments are closed.