Mistletoe And The Workplace

mistletoeWhat is  your first thought when you see mistletoe?

Harmless decoration or inappropriate for the workplace?

I’m having some issues with this right now.  It is my feeling that mistletoe should not be displayed in the office.

In this time where sexual misconduct on the job has been a problem you would think employers would have some common sense about this.  I have no problems with decorations or trying to celebrate the holidays but some things I think could be left out.  Management should circulate a memo to remind employees to celebrate in a joyful but professional and respectful manner.  This message needs to be clear and consistent with the conduct which is appropriate for the workplace.

So what’s the harm with mistletoe?

Answer this question: If it is hanging over the cubicle at someone’s desk, what does it mean?  Unfortunately mistletoe has become a symbol for kissing and that “harmless” kiss could be harmful to reputations as well as pushing the boundaries.   And we all know that there is someone always out there who will do it.   I have seen too many people treat the workplace as if they are repeating their high school or college days.

Two years ago, the high-profile Chief Executive Officer of a company kicked off the holidays by hanging mistletoe from the front of his pants belt.  He was reported to the human resources department but people were initially hesitant our of fear of retaliation or being a Grinch.  The CEO’s response was that he was only kidding and everybody knew it.

I often make the statement:  “Can’t people just act right anymore?”

The sad answer is “no”.  Some people ignore rules, policies and common decency in exchange for a good time or excuse for bad behavior.

Maybe I am being to sensitive about mistletoe but I think the workplace should be about work.  Do your job.  How hard is that?  Have some integrity.  Is that too much to ask?

In the early years of my career I worked in an office which allowed people to dress up for Halloween.  There were no rules or policy about it and you can imagine how that went.  Some folks kept pushing the boundaries until management was forced to eliminate it altogether.  It is sad that today you have to spell out everything for employees in the absence of common sense and decency in the workplace.  The larger problem is that supervisors ignore the problem or refuse to enforce their own policies.

Hanging up mistletoe over your desk or in the workplace is only inviting the opportunity for inappropriate behavior.  Then when the office is slapped with a sexual harassment lawsuit then you will wish you had been more proactive in these things.  Yes, even something as harmless as mistletoe.  Even with all the sexual harassment training, employers are assuming that they are covered and everybody got the memo with regard to their actions but you are still seeing claims of sexual harassment being filed.

With 52% of women in the workplace having experienced some form of sexual harassment in the workplace, Christmas can create even more of a threat with workplace parties and events within the office.  So do we need more reason to condone unwanted behavior?  A mistletoe hanging overhead in the workplace might give some the idea that they can get a “freebie” without it being unwanted while women will feel obligated to compile because of a harmless holiday tradition.

Remove the mistletoe in the office.  It’s stupid to allow an opening for sexual harassment over a harmless plant hanging over the heads of employees.



Working As To The Lord When Your Boss Is Dung

Most of us have to work to pay the bills.  In doing so, we often have to work for bosses who are either difficult or haven’t a clue on how to be a boss.

When I read what the Bible says about working in Colossians 3:23 I can’t help but to laugh.  Here’s what it says:

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters”

So this basically says we are supposed to work our jobs as if we are working for the Lord.

Ummm…dear God…have you met my boss?

Throughout my long career I have worked for many bosses.  Some good and some bad.  The worst was one that was in a different mood every day.  You never knew what mood she would be in.  She would tell you one thing then fuss you out later for doing the thing that she told you to do.  That kind of boss really stresses you out more than the job itself.
So how can you “work unto the Lord” when your boss is a pile of dung?

Let me start by stating the obvious – it isn’t easy.  First and foremost, you have to control you.  Be consistent regardless of how you are being treated.  Do your job and be good at it.

Have someone you can vent to.  You will need someone to talk to about it.  Preferably not someone you work with because you don’t want to be tempted to gossip or stir up dissension where you work.  Talk to your spouse or best friend.  You need to talk about it if you are going to get through it.

Pray about the situation.  God can change things.  I am a believer in this because it happened with the supervisor I mentioned above.  I prayed that God would either move me or move her.  He moved her.  Just remember if you pray for change that you know what you are praying and that you are willing to accept the change.

It isn’t easy to work for a jerk as a boss.  I know how it is to pray for change and not see it happen right away.  It takes some incredible patience to continue to work for somehow who makes life miserable.  Some people aren’t meant to be a boss over anyone.  The challenge is to keep them from stealing your peace.  The only way you can maintain that peace is to keep your mind and heart in line with God.  If you can’t find a quiet place to pray, take a walk and talk to God about it.  He can calm your frustration over the situation until He makes the change.

I don’t understand why people can’t act right and be decent.  It is in every workplace but it is important to continue to do good even when you are not being treated good.

And if you are the boss, think about how you are treating people who work for you.  Are you treating them as you would like to be treated?  If you were your boss would you like you?  If not, make the changes to do it right and treat people with respect.

Yes, it’s hard to imagine your flesh and blood boss to be the same as the Lord but make the effort and practice patience.  Keep your integrity even if you boss isn’t the example of that.