Concerning Casual Fridays

Casual Fridays are about more than dress and style, and in some cases are tied to office politics and coworker viewpoints.

The ‘perk’ of Casual Fridays is certainly not an uncommon workplace ideal. In some offices, however, this seemingly optional measure is taken quite seriously. Having recently started a new job, I quickly found that out the hard way when four people — each with a tone of marked irritation — made a point to inform me: “You know we do Casual Fridays, right?”

Take It Easy, Baby

Of course, I am well aware of this “policy,” and I do value a relaxed atmosphere. The thing is, I actually feel comfortable in “dress clothes.”

Keeping in mind that old tenet to ‘dress for the event,’ I will opt for a long-sleeve, button-up shirt over a golf shirt any day of the week. This doesn’t mean I hold some sort of vendetta against any clothing. Given the option, however, and whether at work or play, I will always choose my dress shirt and slacks over a golf shirt and jeans. It is simply a personal preference.

casual-friday

With Us or Against Us

Over the weekend, I replayed the rather hostile confrontations in my mind, searching for answers as to how this intended “casual” day could take such a sour turn. I came to realize that the issue goes far beyond jeans, sneakers, and really any type of clothing at all. It likely stems from hurt feelings and misinterpretation.

No one wants or deserves to be belittled, or made to feel somehow inferior to another. From the very first days of our lives, humans are hard-wired to seek out approval and inclusion. As children, we look for parental approval. As adults, most of us seek to encourage pleasant accord with friends, family, and co-workers.

When someone or something threatens that harmony, the tendency is to go into “defense mode.” The trouble is, this measure works (or doesn’t work!) both ways. So while co-workers may have viewed my choice not to participate in Casual Friday as some sort of antagonistic display of superiority, their own aggressive reactions lead me to believe that they were somehow displeased with my professional or personal performance (or both).

Team Player

As a show of compromise, and also a sort of social experiment, this week I will break down and “contribute” to Casual Friday with jeans and a golf shirt. Wish me luck.

by Mr. Grunbau
Employment and Enterprise
Residential Life Magazine

Pied Piper

Summary:

a) Not everyone can be a leader. Someone has to follow.

b) Working “in the weeds” is not a bad thing.

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Leadership has become the latest buzzword of today’s professional world. Certainly not a new concept, there seems to be a renewed interest in leadership in general.

There is no doubt that pursuing leadership opportunities is an important and admirable endeavor. Whether it’s a student “aiming high” for future goals or an established professional seeking to take their career to the next level, the draw of leadership outcomes is an exciting avenue not many can (or perhaps should) ignore. But let’s not forget or overshadow the men and women “behind the curtain.”

weakest-link

Support Staff… and Proud of It!

The fact is that not everyone is cut out to be a leader. And that’s not a bad thing. Some workers actually prefer to be “in the weeds.” This doesn’t make them lazy or somehow sub-par to their high-achieving counterparts. Instead, it demonstrates that the chain of any organization is made strong by all links, regardless of rank or position.

In the movies, supporting roles are recognized and celebrated. Any “best actress” is only as good as her supporting actress. So why is administrative and auxiliary support still widely viewed as a temporary or inferior scenario that workers should break free from at the first opportunity?

I’m not suggesting leadership is not important, or that every employee shouldn’t at least be aware of (and perhaps even strive toward) some aspect of leadership and personal/professional development and advancement. But consider this: if everyone is a leader, who is there left to follow?

by Mr. Grunbau
Employment and Enterprise
Residential Life Magazine 

Un-Informed

I have a friend who is disabled. He isn’t missing any limbs, is not blind or deaf. To look at him, and even chat with him, you wouldn’t even know his condition. But he has some severe mental health complications that prevent him from entering the workforce.

Prior to diagnosis of these complications, he had been in and out of work, typically being discharged from a job after about six months. During these interim periods, he received unemployment benefits. Apparently, he heard every “comeback” in the book.

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Finding Fault

Why people felt compelled to call him such names as “deadbeat” and “drain on society” is beyond me. He also received a few written and verbal threats from supposed ‘friends.’

These are not just isolated incidents. The way this society treats the unemployed is deplorable. Those who find themselves out of work — through no fault of their own — are cast as inept demons who happily lounge around all day whilst the rest of us work our fingers to the bone. Give me a break!

End of the Line

My friend is now on long-term disability. But the so-called ‘long-term unemployed’ will eventually see an end to their benefits. And then what happens?

Some will seek loans from friends and family. Others will dip into whatever savings they may have, take out a second mortgage, etc. There is a certain percentage of people who — faced with what they see as no other option — will blast themselves and end their pain and stress once and for all.

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Spade’s a Spade

It’s time that we stop beating around the bush when it comes to unemployment. Most people are actively seeking work, and every rejection — whether they choose to accept it or not — just pushes them deeper into stress and depression. They are then forced to deal with mental and in some cases medical complications.

These people are not lazy. They’re not deadbeats, living off the taxpayers, looking for the easy way out, or any other derogatory term or phrase people seem to take such pleasure in labeling them.

They are sick and need assistance. They need guidance, encouragement, and assurance that there really are brighter days to come. They need you to understand and relate. They need your help.

by Voulghar Imalessé
Residential Life Magazine