Tuesday, December 13, 2005
The company you keep
You can tell a lot about the Company you keep by their Christmas parties. I just went to my first Christmas party with the newspaper and I came home with a great impression about the family-friendly business.
I have been working for the newspaper for less than a year, in an extremely part time position. I work out of my home, and put in somewhere between 9 and 15 hours a week. In short, except for a few people in the editorial department, no one really knows me. I am the stealth reporter.
This summer I was pleased when I was told the company has a yearly event at a local amusement park. We have lived here for four years, but haven’t taken the children to the park because of the high ticket prices. But the company offered free tickets for me and everyone in my family, plus, the provided a picnic.
It was kind of a surprise, for someone who has worked for tightwad companies in the past, and is married to a school teacher. Big parties for teachers usually involve pot-luck and setting up and taking down your own chairs.
However, last night’s Christmas party was a fun, family friendly event.
Santa came to visit children ages 11 and under. A photographer made pictures of each child visiting the big guy, and as the youngsters left they were given a bag budging with candy and toys.
I think the kids had more in their Santa gift they did in their Halloween bags this year. Toys included a little car powered by balloon, a beach ball with a snowman inside, and Adam’s favorite, a stuffed animal.
I have been charged with taking care of the dog and making sure it gets a mid-day snack while Adam is in school.
Adult employees were given gifts ranging from cash and dinners to a microwave oven and digital camera – with printer.
I enjoyed the randomness of the gift giving. While Christmas bonuses were based on hours worked and years with the company, anyone, including the newest employee had a chance at the big camera and printer prize. As it happens, it was the newest employ who won it. I was given cash, which made me very happy.
While I know the company spent money on the party, many of the items were donated in exchange for advertising, which was a win-win for both the businesses and my company. Of course, it was a win for the employees, too!
Having worked for both kinds of companies, the generous businesses with a positive attitude, and the skin-flint companies that seem to fear the employees just might end up earning more than they deserve, it’s clear which I prefer.
The generous companies are also onto something the skinflint companies don’t seem to understand, a little kindness on the part of an employer will earn unabashed loyalty on the part of their employees.
In other words, if you want good people on staff, treat them well.
This isn’t a bad lesson to learn, for a business, or for anyone else seeking joy in life.
If you want a loving husband and children, treat them with love.
If you want people to smile at you, smile at them.
If you want love, give it.
It’s true, generosity, kindness and good manners will not always be returned. But isn’t it better to live a life seeking happiness and joy, rather than a life of suspicion and resentment?