It Helps If You Love Your Job

The executive assistant explained she was planning a birthday party for her boss. Navigating broken English we understood they wanted Canadian food, only the best for a party in two days. Lack of common language didn’t hinder our ability to put on a splendid party. Not surprisingly, executive assistant’s “best” involved champagne fountains, expensive scotch, and dazzling floral festooned archways dotted with twinkling lights.. Never one to judge, we pulled out the stops to make boss one of the weirdest birthday/wedding/ sweet sixteen/ 70’s disco parties I’ve laid eyes on.

Our client said everything was perfect – exactly as she imagined. As guests started to arrive it became apparent female guests fell into two distinctly different camps. The ball gown and tiara set, mingled with barely covering your panties in skin tight Lycra dresses teetering on 4 inch heels crowd. Oddly age wasn’t a factor, nor did it seem to make the slightest difference – I suppose dress code was “optional”

After dinner attention turned to the stage for speeches and video montage of boss man’s life. We found the pictures helpful, managing to piece together boss man’s rise to glory in the real estate market, despite absence of our mother tongue. Formalities over it was time for Karaoke.

As I stood next to the stage, a Lycra clad woman approached saying “help” -one of the few English words she spoke. It didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure out her problem.  Blind sided by her period, every square inch from the edge of her skimpy garment to the top of her rhinestone heels demanded immediate attention. I led her out the back door, leaving her hunched over in the back of our van as I went to find a feminine product. No luck – the best I could do was a pitcher of warm water and two clean bar rags – one to wash up with, the other to stuff in her underwear. Her motioning for me to do the washing was met with a firm “oh, hell no”. She shrugged, washed herself, and put the bar rag in her panties.

Suddenly overcome with a sense of urgency she left the van, making a B-line for the stage. I’d missed them calling her name, I didn’t miss her perfect rendition of Lady Gaga’s I Was Born This Way.

Just another day at the office – it helps if you love your job.

Office Party Refresher Course

My years in hospitality always peak at Christmas. Office party season; the “black Friday” for ballrooms, high end venues, caterers, and event planners. The spring and summer wedding spree pales in comparison. A wedding may take an exhaustive year to plan, follows an itinerary of speeches, dances and toasts. Most people know how to behave at a wedding. Restraint and manners apply to most gatherings. In fact the only function where common sense goes out the window seems to be the Christmas party.

Far from pondering human nature, reasons to “cut loose” on the company dime are clear. That said, I feel an obligation to offer an office party refresher course. In no particular order; some basic rules to consider…..

Dress appropriately, especially if you plan to “tie one on”. Do you really want to face co-workers on Monday morning as the “hot mess” who fell out of her dress.

Your company is giving you a nice dinner, a few drink tickets, and taxi voucher home. There’s no need to “pre-drink” or sneak liquor in.

Raise your voice in advance if you are vegetarian, vegan, lactose/ gluten intolerant, or likely to expire when exposed to peanuts or shellfish. Acting like a princess after the fact will leave your tummy rumbling. If we get a heads up, we’ll lay out the red carpet, nothing less than royal treatment. Demand it without notice, the shoulder you get will be frosty cold.

Don’t steal the decorations or wear them in your hair.

Don’t ask for a pole because you want to “limbo” When gripped with desire to limbo, it’s time to go home.

Never beg for a drink after the bar is closed or “borrow” wine from another table. Don’t embarrass yourself by repeatedly claiming the server took your drink in order to get a free one. You’re drunk, we’re not. What you think is genius; is just plain silly.

Thank your employer. Always remember – your behaviour is noticed.

Lastly; if you are the “boss” no respect will be gained by a drunken Karaoke session.

The list is endless. Unfortunately this ponderer is too exhausted after the 15 hours just spent on another office party.

the office season 2 christmas party 28

From “the Office” 2006

American Versailles

A story out of Windermere, Florida revealed that Westgate Resorts CEO David Siegel told his employees  if Barack Obama was re-elected and raised taxes, he would have to fire some of them. His rationale being that he couldn’t afford the cost of growing his company.

This is beyond pondering, this is jaw dropping. Visions of mining or lumber towns complete with the company store popped into my head. I used to think “big brother” meant the government listened in on your phone calls. A new Big Brother is emerging and it’s far more insidious. In a downtrodden America the thought of persuasive voting makes my skin crawl.

Here’s the punch line – David Siegel and his wife Jackie built the largest home in America. At 90,000 Square feet it is larger than 747 airplane hangers. It has 9 kitchens and 30 bathrooms, 2 movie theatres, a bowling alley of course, dubbed the “American Versailles” the Siegels lost Versailles when they ran into financial difficulty. Siegel, the “time share” king of Florida is a self made billionaire. His company currently employs 7000 people, down 5000 employees since 2007. I can understand why the rich hate taxes: the Mahogany doors and windows in Versailles cost 4 million dollars. What I can’t fathom is why they believe their money is different from anyone else’s.

The above link includes a copy of the email Siegel sent his employees.

Just for fun, take a look at American Versailles….

Biggest House In America David Siegel

Forbes List Best and Worst Jobs 2012 – A Matter of Opinion

Few people have the option of life without work. What motivates our career choices, and how many are happy with their job? Do we abandon dreams for money, or was money our dream? Do starry eyed ambitions crush under the realities of life? Does our job fulfil our lives, or does it burden us with resentment and anxiety?  Are we over qualified and underpaid, or happily punching the clock pursuing our passions? Do we follow our own path or pave someone else’s?

Forbes has a list of the 10 best and worst jobs in 2012. I’m no expert but my guess is there are some happy Lumberjacks (worst job) and unhappy Software Engineers (best job).

Best jobs – Software Engineer, Actuary, Human Resources Manager, Dental Hygienist, Financial Planner, Audiologist, Occupational Therapist, Online Advertising Manager, Computer Systems Analyst, and Mathematician.

Worst jobs – Lumberjack, Dairy Farmer, Enlisted Military Personnel, Oil Rig Worker, Newspaper Reporter, Waiter/Waitress, Meter Reader, Dishwasher, Butcher, and Broadcaster.