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You Have Been Found Guilty Of Celebrating

Aug 5, 2008
A lot of production guidelines and staffing requirements, too, were relaxed as long as the production quotas were met. To make up for it, the company was very strict in areas that other companies would not have been.

For example, they had a (very) lax dress code. And they had a laissez faire management style (just put out fires, literally and figuratively). However, they wanted low morale. The low pay (you made more at McDonalds) and insanely conflicting management edicts (`we care about your safety signs' and a too high accident rate) were proof of this. Perhaps the most chaffing - and insane - rule was the "no celebration" rule.

The last week I was there, the head of corporate engineering had his birthday. We all signed a card, thus violating the rule against distributing literature on the property. The secretary for the engineering department went out and got a cake. This was violating our "no celebration" rule. She had to hide it until the break room was clear. Then a furtive e-mail was sent to all of engineering announcing the 10 minute window when you could go to the break room and get cake.

It was suggested once you got there that you picked up a cup of coffee so that we could keep the party under wraps. The rules said that there shall be no parties or celebrations on company time or company property. No birthday parties, no retirement parties, nothing. Even if the party was the head of corporate engineering, it was still breaking the rules.

The head of corporate engineering had asked for the party and she'd complied. The topic did come up during the very brief party. The secretary asked one of the manager/engineers, "Why aren't we allowed to celebrate?" "It might interfere with productivity." "But doesn't the occasional party like this help morale?" "You think this company cares about morale?" was the answer the manager gave.

The birthday of the owner of the company was 9 days after the head of corporate engineering's birthday. The owner of the company went so far as to have his birthday clearly labeled on all the monthly calendars distributed to employees at the beginning of the month.

As the person who designated the 'no celebration' rule, though, he should not have been surprised when no one surprised him with a cake. Hence the law of unintended consequences hit home.
About the Author
Chris Jensen is a contributing author of Jetfly Blog. For more related articles and views visit Jetfly Food & Good Times Blog now. Also, for the best up-to-date related online products, check out Jetfly Party Supplies Shop for todays current online deals.
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